Monday, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, the Democrat who is running to hold on to her job against Bend physician and Republican Knute Buehler, misled the public. Her campaign staff sent out a press release that began, “Oregonians for Immigration Reform (OFIR), the most prominent anti-immigrant hate group in Oregon, endorsed Republican Knute Buehler on Thursday. Buehler has yet to comment on the hate group’s praise of his candidacy and legislative record.”

Only thing is, the anti-immigration group didn’t endorse Buehler, not on Thursday nor on any other day. Oops!

Days later, the false claim was still prominent on the governor’s campaign website.

Brown’s got it wrong on so many levels. While OFIR president Cynthia Kendoll did, indeed, tell Oregon Public Broadcasting that she supports Knute, that’s a far cry from saying her group does. And, had anyone in Brown’s camp had thought to ask, Buehler has said he would refuse to accept an OFIR endorsement in any event.

Brown has said more than once that she wants what’s good for Oregon, good schools, good health care, and so on, and we believe her. So, too, does Buehler, though the two have clear differences on how to get there. Chief among them are how the state should pay for things like Medicaid (Oregon Health Plan) and more money for schools.

It’s that vision, and the road to its fulfillment, that should be the focus of the governor’s race this year, not false accusations and name-calling.

Brown knows that, of course. But if the polls are correct, she’s facing a challenger with a chance of unseating her in a couple of months. She doesn’t want to lose, and that’s understandable.

Less understandable and far less high-minded is her willingness to make false claims about her opponent, or to allow her campaign staff and other supporters to do so.

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