Democrat Kate Brown and Republican Knute Buehler both have logged $500,000 single contributions for their campaigns. (Photo courtesy Kate Brown Committee)
As the race to become Oregon’s next governor enters its late stretch and attack ads take a fiercer tone, financial donors have flocked to the action.
Each candidate has seen an increase in average daily donors every month through the summer. In June, challenger Knute Buehler, a Republican orthopedic surgeon from Bend, had an average of 38 donations per day to his campaign coffers. Through the first seven days of August, Buehler had 488 donations, an average of 70 per day.
Gov. Kate Brown saw her average daily donations jump from 43 in June to 52 through the first 26 days of August.
Buehler’s reported donations in 2018 range from $1 to $100,000. Brown’s go from $1 to $500,000.
While both are pulling in money, Brown is doing so at a far higher rate. In 2018, Brown has hauled in nearly $4.3 million, adding to the more than $2.7 million in her campaign account at the beginning of the year.
Buehler has pulled in some large donations, and added close to $3.4 million to his account in 2018, but after spending $4.25 million he has $748,519 on hand as of Monday, according to filings.
Here are the top five donors for each campaign so far this year:
* EMILY’s List – $500,000 on Aug. 10
* Defend Oregon’s Values – $96,000 in-kind on July 16
* Barbara Lee of Cambridge, Mass. – $50,000 on Aug. 2
* AFSCME – $50,000 on July 23
* Adam Albright of Bend – $50,000 on July 20
* Roseburg Forest Products – $100,000 on June 8
* Pape Group – $90,000 on May 2
* Thomas Cook of Vancouver, Wash. – $50,000 on July 2
* Freres Lumber Co. – $50,000 on July 2
* Holland Government Affairs – $50,000 on June 20
One of Buehler’s donors is Creed Brattain of Salem. When asked his motivation, Brattain didn’t mince words.
“It’s real simple: Anti-Brown,” Brattain said. “I think Brown is a union hack.”
Brattain declined to elaborate, or to say what he liked about Buehler, but campaign finance reports show he gave Buehler $369.66 on June 5 and another $238 at the end of July. He said he often donates to political candidates but avoids giving money to political action committees.
Buehler’s donation amounts range from $1 to a $500,000 check from Nike co-founder Phil Knight last summer. On Friday, Willamette Week cited an anonymous source to report that Knight had given Buehler a new $1 million check for an expansive TV ad campaign. Campaigns have 30 days to report a donation to the state Elections Division.
“Our campaign does not discuss donations or donors,” Buehler spokeswoman Monica Wroblewski said.
Republican Knute Buehler reportedly received a $1 million campaign contribution last week. (Photo courtesy Knute for Governor)
Brown received a $500,000 check Aug. 10 from EMILY’s List, a national organization aimed at getting pro-choice, Democratic women elected to leadership roles throughout the country.
Maeve Coyle, spokeswoman for Emily’s, declined to say how Brown’s contribution compares to what the organization has given to other candidates around the country, but did say the group see’s the Oregon race is pivotal.
“From being the first woman to serve as majority leader of the Oregon state Senate, to her first term as governor, Kate Brown has always been a steadfast champion for a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions,” Coyle said via email. “This is more important now than ever before, and she’s facing a longtime anti-choice advocate who has sided with extremist groups and voted against legislation to protect women’s reproductive rights.”
While Brown has seen large contributions from political organizations and individuals from out of state, Oregonians have also helped her build her war chest.
Adam Albright, a conservationist who moved to Bend six years ago, gave Brown $50,000 in July.
Albright said he made his decision after he and his wife had lunch with Brown. He said he had given small amounts to campaigns before, but the current state of politics on a national level encouraged him to get more involved.
“I am putting a lot of my own personal time to try and make sure Bend is all it can be, and I think Kate is trying to make Oregon all it can be,” Albright said. “Knute’s got Phil Knight on his side, and I am sure some heavy Republican hitters are going to come in at the end, so me and my wife had a chance to come in and help Kate after getting the chance to meet with her.”
Albright serves on the board for group Central Oregon Landwatch, a conservation group based in Bend. While Buehler is Albright’s hometown candidate, he felt Buehler didn’t align with his ideals.
His biggest concern is climate change, and is excited about a proposed “cap, trade and invest” plan legislatures are looking at to curb carbon emissions in the state. Brown, he said, is the candidate to usher it through.
Have a story tip? Reporter Aubrey Wieber: [email protected] or 503-575-1251.