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Republican says math 'does not add up,' despite uncounted ballots, as Democrat maintains lead for governor.

COURTESY PHOTO: KOIN TV - Christine Drazan at a campaign stop Monday, Nov. 7. The Republican nominee for governor conceded Friday, Nov. 11, to Democrat Tina Kotek. At 3 p.m., Kotek led Drazan, 47.1% to 43.4%, with 1.7 million ballots tallied. Nonaffiliated candidate Betsy Johnson, who conceded Tuesday, had 8.6%.Republican Christine Drazan conceded Friday even as Democrat Tina Kotek moved ahead with announcing her immediate priorities as Oregon's next governor.

Drazan issued a statement after a 3 p.m. tally of 1.7 million ballots showed that Kotek maintained a lead of 47.1% to 43.4% over Drazan. Nonaffiliated candidate Betsy Johnson, who conceded Tuesday night, was at 8.6%. The 7 p.m. tally showed no change.

The Associated Press called the race for Kotek on Thursday night.

Officials estimated Thursday that between 60,000 and 65,000 ballots remain to be tallied in Clackamas County, Drazan's home base. She continued to lead Kotek there, 47.2% to 43.3%.

Drazan said this in her statement:

"Unfortunately, given what we know about the ballots outstanding, the math for a comeback simply does not add up.

"Though the campaign for governor of Oregon has come to an end, I am immensely grateful for all the Oregonians who joined our movement to take our state in a new direction. A majority of Oregonians supported a candidate that did not win.

"This is a unique moment in Oregon's history and an extraordinary opportunity for leadership that recognizes the dynamics of this race that call for moderation and inclusivity moving forward. I have spoken with Tina Kotek and hope for the best for our state as she steps into this role."

Kotek moves forward

PMG PHOTO: PETER WONG - Gov.-elect Tina Kotek speaks at a gathering Thursday, Nov. 10, at Salmon Street Springs in Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Portland. Republican Christine Drazan of Canby conceded the race to Kotek, a Democrat from Portland, on Friday, Nov. 11. As of 3 p.m. Friday, Kotek maintained a lead over Drazan, 47.1% to 43.4%; nonaffiliated candidate Betsy Johnson won 8.6%.Kotek claimed victory when she spoke Thursday, Nov. 10, to news reporters and campaign supporters at a gathering at Salmon Street Springs in Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Portland. It was her first public appearance since Tuesday night, when the election was still too close to call. She added a little bit to her statement from the previous night, when she claimed victory in a close race with three major candidates — all women, a national first.

"When I start as your next governor, I will focus on three things first," she said.

"I will declare a homelessness state of emergency and work with urgency to help Oregonians move off the streets. I will expand access to mental health and addiction treatment services. I will work to bridge the divisions in our state. I will spend time in our communities all over Oregon, working to fix problems and partner with Oregonians who want to find solutions."

She also listed "successful schools" as a priority, but did not specify action.

Kotek did name as leader of her transition team Tim Inman, a former chief of staff when she was speaker of the Oregon House. Inman left in 2018 for the University of Oregon, where he is secretary to the university board of trustees and assistant to the president. His will be a part-time position for a few months.

She said she will prepare changes in the proposed 2023-25 state budget, which is being put together under outgoing Democratic Gov. Kate Brown, to support her legislative proposals. An incoming governor has until Feb. 1 to do so; the Legislature has the final say.

"We are still figuring that out," she said. "One of the conversations in the transition is how to make sure we have those ideas front and center and prepared to come into the session with budgetary asks."

The Oregon Mayors Association and the Portland City Council have offered plans to deal with homelessness that call for more state spending. Kotek, in pre-election comments, has welcomed their participation but has not endorsed specifics in their plans.

Kotek also said the transition team will have another mission.

"For me, it's focusing first on making sure we have the right leaders in place in our agencies and within my office to hit the ground running in January — and doing a lot of listening to hear what people would like us to change," she said.

Deep political divisions

Kotek acknowledged Oregon's deep political divisions. She was carrying just seven of the 36 counties, though three of the four most populous ones. They are Multnomah, Washington and Hood River counties, two coastal counties, and the two counties that are home to the University of Oregon and Oregon State University.

Drazan — a former House Republican leader from Canby — was carrying the others, though she and Kotek were separated by only a few points in Clackamas and Deschutes counties.

Nonaffiliated candidate Betsy Johnson of Scappoose, who conceded Tuesday night, had her best showings in the two counties in her former Senate district. But she failed to carry even them.

Kotek said she had spoken with both candidates.

"I let them know I am going to focus on the problems that all three of us agree need fixing," she said.

She said the best way to heal Oregon's urban-rural divide is to start working on the state's problems together:

"If people see we are working on the things we care about together — housing and homelessness, mental health and addiction treatment, good schools and engaging in good dialogue — we are all going to figure out how to work together to solve problems."

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NOTE: Updates with Drazan concession statement Friday, 7 p.m. Friday totals.

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