Salem oncologist Bud Pierce surprised the political establishment Tuesday by capturing the Republican nomination for governor in a landslide victory over presumed frontrunner, Lake Oswego businessman Allen Alley.
The political newcomer now faces an uphill battle against Democratic Gov. Kate Brown, a seasoned politician who is seeking election to the office she inherited when Gov. John Kitzhaber resigned early last year.
Pierce, 59, campaigned as a moderate in the Mark Hatfield mold, but faces long odds. Oregon remains a blue state, and turnout is expected to be high during a presidential election. Democrats are eager to compare him to New York billionaire Donald Trump, the likely GOP nominee for president.
“People do not know him, nor are they inclined to vote for a Republican,” said Jim Moore, politics professor and director of the Tom McCall Center for Policy Innovation at Pacific University.