Oregon state Sen. Betsy Johnson plans to run for governor in 2022 as an independent.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports that Johnson announced her plans in an email Thursday. Johnson, from Warren, would be up for re-election in her northwest Oregon Senate district next year and will relinquish her Democratic party registration by the spring.

She acknowledged it will be an expensive and challenging to mount a competitive campaign without major party support.

“Taking on the entrenched two parties will be difficult and expensive,” Johnson wrote.

The longtime Democrat noted she grew up in a moderate Republican family “and became a Democrat because the Republican Party had moved too far to the right. For twenty years, I’ve been an independent-minded, pro-choice, pro-jobs Democrat proudly serving the people of Northwest Oregon.”

Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, cannot run for re-election in 2022 due to term limits.


The Democratic Speaker of the Oregon House, Tina Kotek, announced last month that she is running for the state’s highest office. Treasurer Tobias Read has also announced his campaign for governor as a Democrat.

And this week former New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof took a step toward running for Oregon governor by forming a political action committee.

Republicans who have entered the gubernatorial race or who are mulling a run include Salem physician Bud Pierce, political consultant Bridget Barton, Sandy Mayor Stan Pulliam and Medford businesswoman Jessica Gomez.