By Taylor W. Anderson

The Bulletin

Republican Bud Pierce’s first televised ad in the race against Democratic Gov. Kate Brown will begin airing Monday, a harbinger of general election season in Oregon.

The ad, released online Friday, seeks to pin on Brown potential price hikes for Oregonians from bills she supported and signed during her first two years as governor. The ad, along with others just released by legislative candidates, marks the unofficial start of general election season in Oregon, six weeks before mail-in ballots are sent out.

Pierce, a Salem oncologist, doesn’t speak in the ad. Instead, four people speak on screen about controversial bills that some estimate may increase the cost of living in Oregon. Brown signed a biofuels bill that seeks to curb carbon output that the Department of Environmental Quality says could lead to higher prices for gasoline.

She also supported a bill in February that requires the state’s two largest private utility companies to wean off coal and double the amount of renewable energy in their electricity supply in coming years. The utilities said the bill would increase electric rates as it’s phased in.

The Pierce campaign used the higher estimate for the potential increase to fuel prices under the biofuels law, which is known as the low-carbon fuel standard.

Stacey Kafka, spokeswoman for the Pierce campaign, said it was a “six-figure” ad buy that will primarily play in the Portland area starting Monday.

The ad also mentions that Brown supports Measure 97, the proposed tax on big businesses in Oregon that is on the November ballot.

In response, Liz Accola Meunier, a Brown campaign spokeswoman, said in an email, “For far too long, corporations have not paid their fair share of basic services, making struggling families carry the burden themselves.” She added that Oregon is tied with Connecticut for lowest business tax rate in the country, according to Ernst & Young.

Other candidates said they get busy starting early this month.

“September and October is when people start paying attention,” said Chris Telfer, a Bend accountant and former state senator who’s running for state treasurer as an Independent.

Telfer, a former Republican, joined the Independent Party of Oregon shortly after it was certified as the state’s third major party. She faces a significant fundraising gap, having raised just under $15,000 and spent all of it, according to campaign finance records. She ran unsuccessfully for the seat against current Treasurer Ted Wheeler in 2010. Wheeler takes office as Portland mayor in 2017.

Telfer’s opponent, Democratic state Rep. Tobias Read, of Beaverton, has about $262,000 in his account, and Republican Jeff Gudman, a Lake Oswego city councilor, has nearly $11,000 on hand.

Sen. Tim Knopp and Rep. Knute Buehler, both Bend Republicans seeking re-election, released their own online ads this week.

Greg Delgado, a Democrat, is challenging Knopp in the Senate race and has begun raising money, but has only reported a portion of it so far.

Gena Goodman-Campbell, a Bend Democrat challenging Buehler, has reported raising $60,000 and has just over $27,000 on hand.

— Reporter: 406-589-4347,

tanderson@bendbulletin.com

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