In Short

Obama records Kotek campaign ad in tight Oregon governor race

By: - October 21, 2022 10:32 am

President Barack Obama speaks during a presser while Elizabeth Warren listens in the Rose Garden at the White House on July 18, 2011 in Washington, D.C. Both are wading into the Oregon governor’s race, with Obama recording an ad for Democrat Tina Kotek and Warren headlining a rally for her on Saturday. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Former President Barack Obama is wading into the hotly contested race for Oregon governor, recording a short video ad for Democrat Tina Kotek.

Kotek’s campaign will begin running the minute-long video Friday on social media platforms as it encourages voters to return their ballots. Oregonians began receiving their ballots Thursday, and they must be postmarked or returned to a ballot drop site by 8 p.m. on Nov. 8.

In the video, a seated Obama talks directly to the camera, calling Kotek the “real deal.” He describes her legislation to raise the state minimum wage and pass the country’s strongest abortion protections, as well as her campaign priorities of lowering housing and health care costs, protecting the environment and supporting workers. 

“Tina knows things are broken, but she’s a fixer. Always has been, always will be,” Obama said. “And she’s the leader we need in this moment.” 

Obama is campaigning in Atlanta, Detroit and Milwaukee ahead of the Nov. 8 midterm elections, and he recorded ads for Wisconsin candidates Tony Evers and Mandela Barnes and Arizona gubernatorial nominee Katie Hobbs. Earlier this week, he clarified that Alek Skarlatos, the Republican running in Oregon’s 4th Congressional District, doesn’t have his support, despite Skarlatos running multiple ads featuring Obama praising him in 2015 for helping to stop a terrorist attack.

Other high-profile national Democrats are also rallying voters in Oregon as Democrats face an unusually difficult election. Political analysts consider the governor’s race, as well as the 4th, 5th and 6th congressional districts, up for grabs, and most polls give Kotek and Republican Christine Drazan even odds at winning.  

President Joe Biden traveled to Portland last weekend to host a fundraiser for Kotek and joined volunteers as they phone-banked. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, will headline a Kotek rally Saturday, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, is headed to Eugene on Thursday.

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Julia Shumway
Julia Shumway

Julia Shumway has reported on government and politics in Iowa and Nebraska, spent time at the Bend Bulletin and most recently was a legislative reporter for the Arizona Capitol Times in Phoenix. An award-winning journalist, Julia most recently reported on the tangled efforts to audit the presidential results in Arizona.