PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Yes, it’s March. But the 2022 Oregon governor’s race is well underway.

Gov. Kate Brown is not running for re-election. There are more than 3 dozen candidates who want to replace Brown as the chief executive of the state.

The topics most often mentioned as issues in the campaign are COVID and the handling of the pandemic as well as the overall economy.

Even though Brown is not running for re-election she doesn’t want to burden the next Democratic nominee with the decisions she’s making — a backlash for COVID restrictions that are too heavy or not enough. Handling of the pandemic, educaton and the economy are the most important issues for voters, said Ben Gaskins, a political science professor at Lewis and Clark College,

”If there is enough broad level satisfaction and if the Republican candidates are not seen as too extreme on other issues there’s certainly a possibility that people will switch parties or not support the parties in power,” Gaskins said.

Oregon State University Associate Professor of Political Science Chris Stout said it’s possible voters will carry their frustrations with them to the polls.

“Certainly low levels of approval for the governor will have lingering for the party overall,” Stout said. “People often think about the predecessor’s performance when deciding whether to give that same party another chance.”

Stout also said he believes it will be difficult in the midterms for Democrats to maintain control of the House. But predicting what will happen in 2 years during another presidential election isn’t possible because of all that can happen with COVID in that timeframe. And he thinks COVID and the economy will be driving issues in 2024.