Former Oregon House Speaker and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tina Kotek is now one step closer to becoming one of the first out lesbian governors in the country.
On Tuesday, Kotek won the Democratic primary in the state’s gubernatorial race, making her the first out lesbian to win a statewide party nomination in Oregon according to the Victory Fund, which has endorsed Kotek. She will now face off in a three-way race for governor in November against two other female candidates: Republican Christine Drazan and Independent Betsy Johnson.
“I am deeply honored that Democratic voters across Oregon trust me to be their nominee,” Kotek said in a statement following her win Tuesday. “There is so much at stake: from protecting abortion access to defending our environment to standing up for working Oregonians who are still recovering from the pandemic. With so much on the line, Oregonians deserve someone who will fight for their interests.”
Kotek had been the Oregon House Speaker from 2013 through 2022, when she resigned in order to focus on her gubernatorial campaign. The Oregonian reports that she has a history of passing progressive legislation, including the enactment of new business taxes to improve school spending and the raising of the state’s minimum wage.
Kotek edged out her opponent, state Treasurer Tobias Read, 56% to 32% in Tuesday’s primaries.
Should she win in the general election, Kotek would join only a handful of known out governors across the country, a list that includes Jarod Polis, the current governor of Colorado, and Oregon’s current governor Kate Brown.
She is one of two known out lesbian candidates currently running for governors of their respective states. The other is Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.