Initial results showed Kotek with about 56% of the vote with about 63% of precincts reporting. Her closest challenger, State Treasurer Tobias Read, stood at 34%.
At a speech at her campaign watch party shortly before 9 p.m., Kotek thanked her supporters and campaign staff, as well as Read and the other Democratic primary candidates. She said Read had called her to concede.
“I think it’s important to remember that all the Democrats in this race share a similar vision for what we want the state to be,” Kotek said. “We’re all going to work together to make sure we win. That a Democrat — that I win in November, because frankly there is just too much at stake.”
The Republican primary has not yet been called, but initial results put former Oregon House Minority Leader Christine Drazan in the lead at 24%, followed by business consultant Bob Tiernan at 20%.
Appearing at a campaign event late Tuesday evening, Drazan stopped short of declaring victory, but said the results up to that point suggested that she would prevail if the trends continued.
“The Oregon we know, the Oregon we love is hurting,” she said. “Too many of our neighbors are living on the streets. Schools are failing our kids, and our families are feeling the pinch of high taxes and record inflation.”
“Our issues, whether win lose or draw, are the same,” Tiernan said in a speech to his supporters. We need to solve our homeless problem here in Oregon. We need that resolution now, not next month, not six months from now, not two years from now. Lawlessness, the crime, the ever increasing crime, the shootings, we need to resolve those.”
Kotek and unaffiliated candidate Betsy Johnson both acknowledged the likely three-way shape of the race heading for the November general election.
“People need to understand there are two conservatives who are going to be running against me in November,” Kotek said. “They want to take us backwards, I want to move our state forward, that’s what these results mean tonight, I have a lot of Oregonians supporting that vision.”
“Tonight, the political extremes have chosen,” Johnson said in a statement. “Tina Kotek is more Kate Brown than Kate Brown and Christine Drazan wants to take away a woman’s right to choose. I know we can get our mojo back, but not with the same old politics of the far left and far right. The biggest change Oregon can make this year is putting the people back in charge with an independent governor loyal only to Oregonians, not the political extremes.”