PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Oregon’s race for governor is intensifying ahead of May’s Democrat and Republican primaries, but when it comes to raising a campaign war chest, the candidate who’s leading the pack is an Independent. 

Betsy Johnson, a longtime state senator who served as a moderate Democrat, is running as an Independent with hopes she’ll be elected to lead Oregon. 

Johnson resigned from her position in the Senate on Dec. 15 to focus on her gubernatorial campaign. 

As of Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022, Johnson’s campaign finance committee Run Betsy Run had raised well over $2.9 million. 

The candidate with the second-most funds raised is former New York Times columnist Nick Kristof, whose bid to run for office was rejected by the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office last Thursday. Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan determined Kristof does not meet the constitutional requirements to serve as governor because he has not been a resident of Oregon for three years before the election. However, Kristof, who is running as a Democrat, has filed an appeal.

Kristof’s last recorded campaign contribution was recorded Tuesday, Jan. 4. His campaign finances currently total well over $1.8 million.

KOIN 6 News contacted Kristof’s campaign asking what it will do with the funds raised if he is no longer allowed to proceed in the campaign. We did not hear back by deadline. The story will be updated if we receive a response.

After the announcement from Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan, Kristof on Friday filed a petition with the Oregon Supreme Court asking them to overturn Fagan’s decision. 

Meanwhile, the Republican candidate with the most funds raised so far is Christine Drazan, who currently has more than $740,000 raised. Drazan officially launched her campaign in early 2022 and has been serving as the state House Minority Leader.

Here’s a list of all gubernatorial candidates who have campaign finance committees and how much they’ve raised: 


NameBalance as of Jan. 12, 2022
Nick Kristof$1,879,851.23
Tina Kotek$743,380.33
Tobias Read$446,497.59
Casey Kulla$4,947.74
Patrick Starnes$1,767.76
Michael Trimble$0
Wilson Bright$0
Michael Cross$0


NameBalance as of Jan. 12, 2022
Christine Drazan$702,138.50
Bridget Barton$345,208.79
Stan Pulliam$264,258.14
William (Bud) Pierce$167,124.54
Kerry McQuisten$60,493.92
Brandon Merritt$31,572.67
Jessica Gomez$25,614.74
Nick Hess$14,105.13
John Fosdick III$170
Paul Romero$0


NameBalance as of Jan. 12, 2022
Elizabeth (Betsy) Johnson$2,948,566.63
Timothy Harrold$620.02