WASHINGTON — With just over a month left before the May primary, incumbent Rep. Greg Walden has an enormous money advantage over his 2nd Congressional District primary challenger, Klamath County Commissioner Dennis Linthicum.
During the first quarter of 2014, Walden, R-Hood River, raised $493,000, leaving him with $1.8 million cash on hand, according to his most recent campaign finance report, filed this week with the Federal Election Commission.
Over the same period, Linthicum raised $13,053, leaving him with $8,402 cash on hand. As of March 31, his campaign owed $8,375, much of it to Linthicum himself to cover outlays for expenses.
Walden, an eight-term incumbent who chairs the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, raised almost $232,000 from individual contributions, and more than $261,000 from political committees, some of which were Political Action Committees, or PACs.
Through his spokesman Andrew Malcolm, Walden said successful fundraising is an important indicator of a healthy campaign, but not the only element.
“I’m very thankful and enthused by the support of so many people from all across our district who not only are donating to my campaign at record levels, but also are signing up to help at the grass-roots level,” Walden said. “All this gives me great encouragement to keep working for common-sense solutions to grow jobs in our communities, reduce wasteful federal spending and help get Oregon and America on a better track.”
As chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, Walden is tasked with protecting, and increasing if possible, the Republican majority in the House of Representatives. He has said the GOP has some ground to make up to Democrats when it comes to online outreach, and his campaign looks to do just that.
“We’re signing up more volunteers than ever, and they’re reaching out to voters using the latest technology. I take every race seriously, and greatly appreciate those supporters who are stepping up at an unprecedented pace to help,” he said.
Linthicum, serving his first four-year term as a county commissioner, acknowledged he has been outpaced by Walden when it comes to fundraising.
“But I believe, as the Founding Fathers did, that the course of the country is decided in the marketplace of ideas, not the size of someone’s purse,” he said. “Every day, I am offered volunteer time from folks in District 2 who can’t afford to help financially. Every time a farmer, small-business man, mom or dad sacrifices to give my campaign a little cash at an event, I am overcome with gratitude and I can’t wait to serve these hard-working people in Congress.
Voters of the 2nd District deserve a congressman who is not indebted to special interests, he said.
“My campaign may be small, but we are dedicated to liberty, common-sense government and by-the-people, for-the-people representation, a concept that Congressman Walden’s out-of-state funded war chest proves he has long-since forgotten,” Linthicum said.
Linthicum is Walden’s first primary challenger since 2006. He was first elected in 1998 with 61.5 percent of the vote, and since then has not received less than 66.8 percent in a general election.
Bend businesswoman Aelea Christofferson is running for the Democrat nomination for a spot in November’s general election. Christofferson is the founder and former president of ATL Communications, which helps toll-free numbers reduce routing costs and helps them re-establish service following disasters. She has served as president of the Sunriver Chamber of Commerce and as a member of the Cover Oregon Board until she stepped down to run for Congress.
Christofferson raised $18,212 in the first three months of 2014 and ended the period with $13,701 in cash on hand, according to her FEC filing. She also loaned her campaign $5,000, which remains an outstanding debt for the campaign.
Neither of Christofferson’s primary opponents, Barney Spera, a retiree from Ashland, and Frank Vulliet, an attorney and writer from Sunriver, filed a first-quarter finance report. This probably is because they have not collected at least $5,000, the amount that obligates a candidate to file a financial report with the Federal Election Commission.
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