PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon’s primary election is around the corner and dozens of people have expressed interest in running for governor.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is term-limited and cannot run for re-election in 2022, leaving the position open for a replacement.
As of March 24, 2022, nearly 40 candidates have filed to run for the state’s top elected position. There are 35 people running as Democrats and Republicans in the primary election, which takes place May 17, 2022
Here are the candidates looking to lead the state:
Bud Pierce – Bud Pierce lives in Salem and is a senior partner and physician at Oregon Oncology Specialists of Salem where he treats cancer patients. He received his doctoral degree from UCLA Medical School. He does not have any prior governmental experience but previously lost to Kate Brown in the 2016 governor’s race. He told KOIN 6 News that he’s a legacy Republican and if he’s elected governor, he’d like to focus on improving public safety, addressing homelessness, helping businesses succeed, and managing forestland better.
Stan Pulliam – Stan Pulliam is the current mayor of Sandy and currently works as an insurance executive. According to his candidate filing with the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office, Pulliam received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon and has previously worked as a local, state and national Republican campaign staffer. According to his website, Pulliam is pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, pro-medical freedom and pro-property rights.
Jessica Gomez – In a campaign video, Jessica Gomez says she grew up as a homeless teenager and became a CEO by age 26. She and her husband started a microchip manufacturing facility in Southern Oregon in 2003. The company now employs 26 people in Medford. Gomez ran for Oregon State Senate District 3 in 2018 but was defeated by Democrat Jeff Golden. According to her website, Gomez says the state needs a public safety system where the appropriate first responders are deployed, a comprehensive plan to address homelessness, and better teacher-to-student ratio standards.
Kerry McQuisten – Kerry McQuisten is the mayor of Baker City and says she grew up in Baker County and received a bachelor’s degree from Willamette University. After college, she worked overseas and across the U.S. in teaching, publishing and marketing before returning to Baker City and founding a publishing company. According to her campaign website, McQuisten says she’s against COVID-19-related mandates, would ban the teaching of critical race theory, and is against defunding the police.
Marc Thielman – Marc Thielman is the superintendent of the Alsea School District. He’s spent 27 years working in public information, according to his candidate filing, and has a bachelor’s degree from Whitworth University, a master’s degree from Eastern Washington University and a professional degree from Washington State University. According to his campaign website, Thielman supports school choice, health care choice and plans to fight for affordable housing.
Bridget Barton – Bridget Barton is an editor and publisher who lives in West Linn. She grew up in Virginia and received her bachelor’s degree and teaching certificate from the College of William and Mary. According to her campaign website, Barton has focused much of her career on improving education and has advocated for more charter schools in Oregon. She currently publishes a conservative magazine, Brainstorm NW. She says she supports helping the homeless find safe places to sleep, better job opportunities for Oregonians and an economy where all state residents can thrive.
Amber Richardson – Amber Richardson was born in Corvallis, raised in Central Point and currently lives in White City. She works as a massage therapist at a chiropractic clinic in Medford. According to her campaign website, Richardson has worked two jobs her entire adult life and wants better for the next generation of Oregonians. She supports in-person voting, changing forest management practices, and gun rights, and does not support defunding the police.
Nick Hess – Nick Hess says he’s the owner and CEO of SureTech, an IT support and services provider. He says he and his wife own and operate a cooking class business in Tigard. According to his campaign website, Hess said he’d like Oregon to be more transparent with how tax dollars are spent and would like to work with police and mental health professionals to address homelessness. He’d also like to re-establish Oregon as a tourist destination.
Brandon Merritt – Brandon Merritt is a social media, marketing and fundraising consultant who is self-employed and lives in Bend, according to his candidate filing record. He received a bachelor’s degree from Berklee College of Music.
David Burch – David Burch lives in Salem and is unemployed, according to his filing record with the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office.
Christine Drazan – Christine Drazan is the former Oregon House minority leader and is from Canby. The Oregon House Republican Office Communications Director Andrew Fromm confirmed to KOIN News on Nov. 23 that she is running for governor. On her campaign website, Drazan said she supports lower taxes and safer neighborhoods. She said, “Oregon is making the national news for all the wrong reasons,” and said she wants to bring about change and restore accountability in Salem.
Paul Romero – Paul Romero lives in Roseburg and is the CEO of Youwalk Today, a walker and wheelchair product. Romero served 10 years in the Navy and previously worked as a car salesman, project manager and handyman. In a “contract with Oregon” posted on his campaign website, Romero says if elected governor he will audit the state’s budget, improve state computer systems and work to make Oregon an income tax- and property tax-free state.
John Presco – John Presco describes himself as a “self-employed newspaperman.” He lives in Springfield and has no prior governmental experience, according to his candidate filing on the Oregon Secretary of State’s website. Presco said he previously worked as a manager at Upstairs Art Association. He attended University High School through grade 11.
Bill Sizemore – Bill Sizemore owns Bill Sizemore Painting in Redmond and is a general contractor. He previously ran for governor in 1998. He won the Republican primary election, but lost in the general election to incumbent John Kitzhaber, who was a Democrat. He ran for governor again in 2010, but lost in the primary to Republican Chris Dudley. According to his candidate filing, Sizemore owned and operated at radio station in Portland and founded and ran a statewide taxpayer organization called Oregon Taxpayers United. In 2011, Sizemore pleaded guilty to felony tax evasion and went to jail. Sizemore has a history of filing ballot initiatives to lower taxes. According to an article from Willamette Week, Sizemore declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2013.
Reed Christensen – Reed Christensen is retired and lives in Hillsboro, but formerly worked as an electrical engineer for Intel. He said he was the business owner of a startup and was an active duty Army officer. He has a bachelor’s degree from Washington State University in electrical engineering and a master’s degree from Brigham Young University in electrical engineering. He has no prior governmental experience, according to his candidate filing.
Stefan Strek – Stefan Strek is a candidate from Eugene. In his candidate filing, he said he’s an independent artist. He’s previously worked in food service, as an independent contractor and in a financial aid office. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in art. He has no prior governmental experience.
Raymond Baldwin – Raymond Baldwin is a licensed, bonded and insured general contractor who lives in Canby. Before he was a general contractor, he worked as a journeyman carpenter at the Carpenters Local Union 1388. He studied general education at the Oregon College of Education in Monmouth and political science at Portland Community College and Portland State University. Balwin has previously run as a Constitution Party candidate for Oregon’s fifth U.S. House District in 2014. He also ran for the position in 2012 and lost both races.
Court Boice – Court Boice is the chair of the Curry County Commissioners and has worked as a county commissioner for five years. He’s served on the governor’s fire response council, as an Oregon State Marine Board member, and as an Oregon state legislative assistant. He’s also worked as the lead commissioner for the Curry Suicide Prevention and Awareness Council and he’s been on the Coos Curry Housing Task Force.
Tim McCloud – Tim McCloud lives in Salem and works for Allegheny Technologies Incorporated, which has a location in Albany. According to McCloud’s candidate filing, he works as a business development analyst and researcher. McCloud’s campaign website says he’s lived in Deschutes, Linn and Marion counties. He feels he can listen to different points of view and bring people together. He said he studied small city management, public administration and business administration at Eastern Oregon University. McCloud said if elected, he would reverse harmful policies in schools, stand against sales tax, advocate to reduce taxes on businesses, work to get people in economic crisis working, and develop more housing units.
Bob Tiernan – Bob Tiernan lives in Lake Oswego and currently works as a businessman, consultant and attorney. He previously served two terms as a state representative from Lake Oswego and served as chairman of the Oregon Republican Party. He’s also been the president of Grocery Outlet and is a retired U.S. Navy commander. He believes his experience running multi-million-dollar businesses can be applied to solving Oregon’s most serious problems. On his campaign website, he says he wants to address the crime and lawlessness in Portland, address traffic issues in the metropolitan area, and give parents more voice when it comes to what their children are taught in school.
Patrick Starnes – Patrick Starnes is a self-employed home restorer who lives in Brownsville. He ran as an Independent for governor in 2018, but shortly before the election, he asked his supporters to instead vote for Kate Brown’s re-election. Starnes was a campaign finance advocate during the 2019 legislative session, which led to Measure 107 that passed in November 2020. If elected, Starnes hopes to set donor limits within his first 100 days as governor. Starnes said he decided to run as a Democrat in 2022 after the U.S. Capitol insurrection in January 2021 and the Biden administration’s decision to cancel the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Tina Kotek – Tina Kotek is the current Oregon House Speaker and is the state representative for District 44. She lives in Portland and on her campaign website she says she’s running for governor because she knows that “together, we can reckon with the legacies of injustice and inequality to build a great future for Oregon.” She says she wants to prioritize affordable housing, expand access to quality healthcare and tackle the climate crisis.
Michael Trimble – Michael Trimble lives in Portland and is a customer service representative for CareOregon. He says he was born in St. Petersburg, Russia without arms due to the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown. He was adopted and says he suffered abuse before he was placed in juvenile protective services. He moved to Portland in 2015. Trimble says he’d like to expand Medicaid to all Oregonians who make under $93,000, would like to provide additional rent relief and fortify the cycling pedestrian infrastructure.
Wilson Bright – Wilson Bright lives in Portland and is currently retired. He once owned and operated Rose City Textiles and RCT Fabrics.
Tobias Read – Tobias Read is the current Oregon State Treasurer and lives in Portland. He previously served in the Oregon House of Representatives. During his time in the House, he says he championed legislation to invest in public education. In his campaign for governor, Read is promising more investment in kids’ education. He says he wants to make pre-K available to all Oregon children and expand apprenticeships and vocational training. Read wants to confront climate change and build more affordable housing units.
Keisha Lanell Merchant – Keisha Lanell Merchant, or Coach Kay, is an artist who lives in Albany. According to her candidate information submitted to the Oregon Secretary of State’s office, she’s previously worked as a health care practitioner, a marketing distributor and a motivational coach. She has a master’s degree in business communication from Jones International University and a bachelor’s degree in women’s studies from Oregon State University. the harshest economic consequences in a generation.”
Peter Hall – Peter Hall is a city councilor in Haines and is a director on the board of the League of Oregon Cities, according to his candidate filing information. Hall grew up outside of Seattle and received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington. On his campaign website, Hall says he believes social welfare programs need to be based on cost instead of just income. He’d like to change the culture of police departments to help recruit officers who will do the job ethically.
Michael Cross – Michael Cross is a software designer and commercial driver who lives in Salem. He’s previously worked as an entrepreneur, business owner and writer, according to his candidate filing information. According to his campaign website, Cross believes businesses should not be fined for operating in violation of COVID-19 mandates and that “defunding the police is insanity.” He’d like to reopen the state fully, with or without masks.
John Sweeney – John Sweeney lives in Portland. According to his candidate filing, he currently works as a proprietor at Canary Castle Gallery and previously worked for the city of Portland in the parks department. He has an associate’s degree from Portland Community College. He says he was previously elected or appointed to Multnomah Education Service District.
Ifeanyichukwu Diru – Ifeanyichukwu Diru is a farmer who lives in Beaverton and farming is a large part of his campaign. According to his candidacy website, Diru wants to partner with farmers to scale production and reduce regulation and introduce a 0% tax for the agricultural industry. He would also like to create a governor pardon program that would allow all criminals in Oregon the chance to turn in their weapons, enlist in a five-year work-housing program where they would work for the state, make restitution to their victims, and if they complete those things in five years, they would be pardoned by the governor. Diru ran for governor in 2014, but lost in the primary election to incumbent John Kitzhaber.
George Carrillo – George Carrillo is currently a social determinant of health program manager for the Oregon Health Authority and lives in Sherwood. He previously worked as a self sufficiency manager at Oregon Department of Human Services, was a volunteer instructor at Clark County Skills Center, was a sheriff’s deputy in Arizona, and served in the U.S. Marine Corps infantry. He has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice administration from the University of Phoenix. On his campaign website, Carrillo said his time in law enforcement taught him how the criminal justice system disproportionately penalizes communities of color and those with behavioral health issues. He said he’s pushing for criminal justice reform, health care reform, government agency reform and immigration reform.
David Stauffer – David Stauffer lives in Portland and said he’s the president of Stauf Ent., Inc. and has invented four items to help improve the environment. He believes the submerged pipeline he’s invented will get water from the Columbia River to all of Eastern Oregon, Washington and California. According to his candidate filing, he previously worked as a securities analyst for the State of Oregon and worked in the Department of Consumer and Business Services. He was an accounting and business professor and is a retired attorney. He has a doctoral degree from Northwestern School of Law at Lewis & Clark University. Stauffer ran as a Republican for secretary of state in 2020, but lost in the primary election. He also lost in the 2018 Republican primary when he ran for governor. In 2016, he ran for Oregon governor as a Democrat.
David Beem – David Beem lives in Salem and according to his candidate filing, he is currently unemployed. He made no mention of previous jobs he’s worked, but said he graduated from Grants Pass High School. He’s previously worked as a precinct committee person in House District 21 and has volunteered at the capital with Gov. Kate Brown, he said.
Julian Bell – Julian Bell is taking another stab at running for Oregon governor after he ran previously and was defeated in the 2016 primary election. He lives in Ashland and is a doctor who focuses on internal medicine. On his campaign website, he says he was born in Australia but is an American citizen. He says he’s running for office because he believes more needs to be done about climate change. He is concerned about the drought in Southern Oregon and the lack of water for farmers. Bell has served on the Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission since 2018.
Genevieve Wilson – Genevieve Wilson is an independent contractor from Portland. According to her candidate filing, she’s worked previously as a computer systems engineer for the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District and as a programer analyst for Firestone. She received her master’s degree in computer science from California State University East Bay.
Tim Harrold – Tim Harrold is an operations manager at Executive Security Services, Inc. in Milwaukie and lives in Dundee, according to his candidate committee filing. Harrold was born in California and moved to North Carolina to pursue a career as a police officer. His wife is from Oregon and they decided to move back to the Beaver State to raise their children. On his website, Harrold says he would like to increase classrooms and teachers to improve the teacher-to-student ratio. He wants to find solutions for homelessness and believes police need to be correctly trained and supported.
Betsy Johnson – Betsy Johnson is a current Oregon state senator for District 16 and lives in Scappoose. She currently serves in the Senate as a Democrat but is running for Oregon as an Independent. She previously served in the House before she was appointed to the Senate. Johnson was born in Redmond and attended Carleton College in Minnesota. She received a law degree from Lewis & Clark College.
Kevin Levy – Kevin Levy is a real estate broker who lives in Portland. According to his campaign website, Levy is running for governor because he wants to expand economic growth in all Oregon counties, address homelessness and create more affordable housing. He also wants to help more high school students enter higher education and supports after-school programs.
Dustin Watkins – Dustin Watkins is from Grants Pass. According to his candidate committee filing, he works as a dishwasher at Taco Bell.