A history of Oregon governor’s races

Here is the history of elections for governor in Oregon:


In 2014, Democrat John Kitzhaber secured his fourth term overall as governor, and second consecutive, by beating Republican Dennis Richardson 733,230 to 648,542. Kitzhaber also served as governor from 1995 to 2003. However, he didn’t hold the office long, as an influence-peddling scheme involving his fiancée Cylvia Hayes led to his resignation. Richardson went on to become secretary of state. Kate Brown succeeds Kitzhaber when he resigns.


In 2009, Kitzhaber announced he was aiming once again for the governor’s chair, and the following year won a close race against former Portland Trail Blazer Chris Dudley, who ran on the Republican ticket. Kitzhaber garnered 716,525 to Dudley’s 694,287.


Democrat Ted Kulongoski won reelection by handily beating Republican challenger Ron Saxton by more than 100,000 votes.


After serving in both chambers of the Legislature, as attorney general and on the Oregon Supreme Court, Kulongoski successfully ran for governor in 2002. Kulongoski got 49 percent of the vote while Republican challenger Kevin Mannix got 46 percent.


John Kitzhaber easily wins reelection. Republican challenger Bill Sizemore ended up snagging 30 percent of the vote, dwarfed by the 64 percent the incumbent got.


John Kitzhaber won his first of four terms by beating Republican Denny Smith, a former Congressman, with 51 percent of the vote. Smith got 42 percent of the vote.


Barbara Roberts became the first woman to be elected Oregon governor. Roberts was unopposed in the Democratic primary and was challenged by then-Attorney General David Frohnmayer. Roberts later decided not to seek a second term. In Robert’s farewell memo, she wrote at length about the importance of inclusivity and unity of all Oregonians.


Neil Goldschmidt announced his candidacy in 1985 as two-term Republican Vic Atiyeh was leaving the office. Goldschmidt faced Republican Secretary of State Norma Paulus and won 52 percent to 48 percent. He later decided against re-election.


Vic Atiyeh was the last Republican to take the governor’s mansion. He ran for the high office in 1974 but lost to Robert Straub. Atiyeh ran again in 1978, beating former Gov. Tom McCall in the primary, and then Straub in the general election. Atiyeh ran against Kulongoski in 1982, winning 61 percent of the vote and every county in the state.