The three candidates for Oregon governor are Democrat Tina Kotek (left), Betsy Johnson, running unaffiliated (center) and Republican Christine Drazan (right). (Campaign photos)
The three women vying to be Oregon’s governor will meet on the debate stage for the first time Friday before a room of newspaper executives at a Clackamas County resort.
The debate, at 2 p.m. Friday in Welches, is part of the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association’s annual convention and isn’t open to the public. Newspapers that belong to the membership association, including The Oregonian/OregonLive and Pamplin Media, plan to livestream it.
It’s traditionally the first debate of the general election, though candidates from both major parties have skipped it. Gov. Kate Brown chose not to attend in 2016, when she was running against Republican Bud Pierce, a Salem oncologist who also sought the GOP nomination this year. And in 2010, Republican nominee Chris Dudley traveled to Colorado instead of debating Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber.
This year, Democrat Tina Kotek, Republican Christine Drazan and non-affiliated candidate Betsy Johnson all plan to participate.
Each candidate has committed to other debates, though they haven’t yet agreed on specifics.
Kotek plans to attend forums hosted by the city clubs in Eugene and Salem in September, as well as an October debate hosted by Oregon Public Broadcasting and debates sponsored by TV stations KGW in Portland and KOBI in Medford.
Johnson proposed televised debates or forums in Medford, Portland, Eugene, Bend, Pendleton and Coos Bay. And Drazan’s campaign has said she’s reviewing all proposed debates and is eager to compare her positions with Kotek’s and Johnson’s.
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