SALEM — It’s fewer than 100 days until the Nov. 6 general election, when Oregon will vote for governor, all 60 state House members and a slew of state senators, along with ballot measures on issues ranging from taxes to abortion.
Nationwide, all 435 seats in the U.S. House are up for grabs, along with about a third of the U.S. Senate spots and 36 of the 50 governor’s seats.
Enjoy the relative quiet of August, because after Labor Day, the political season traditionally kicks into high gear and high pitch.
Here’s an update on a few political matters around Oregon.
Governors’ race spending on record pace
Gov. Kate Brown and Rep. Knute Buehler, R-Bend, the Republican nominee for governor, together have reported more than $11 million in fundraising. The rate of fundraising in past governor elections puts them on course to eclipse the record $17.7 million raised during the 2010 governor campaign narrowly won by John Kitzhaber over Republican Chris Dudley. Adjusted for inflation, Brown and Buehler would have to spend $20.4 million to match the 2010 spending levels.
Counting the contributions
Brown and Buehler continue to use different methods — both legal — of reporting their campaign contributions. Brown’s current report runs through July 27 and shows she has raised just under $6.2 million the past two years, while spending $2.7 million. Counting money from earlier years, she has $4.7 million in the bank. Among major recent contributions are $50,000 each from government union AFSCME and the American Federation of Teachers. Businesswoman and activist Laurene Powell Jobs of Palo Alto, the widow of Apple founder Steve Jobs, gave $45,000. The Oregon Nurses Political Action Committee gave $40,000.
Buehler is using the full 30-day time period for reporting campaign contributions. His latest reporting is from June 27. It shows he has raised $4.7 million over the past two years. He’s spent just under $4 million — mostly in the GOP primary he won in May — and has $813,000 in cash on hand. Key recent contributions include $100,000 from Republican-oriented ActionPAC, $100,000 from Roseburg Forest Products Co., $50,000 from Lebanon businessman James Young, $50,000 from Salem real estate management consultant Mark Burnham, and $50,000 from a subsidiary of Vancouver, Washington, property firm Holland Investment Group.
The true financial state of campaigns becomes clearer the closer it gets to Election Day on Nov. 6. Up until Aug. 24, candidates must report contributions and expenditures within 30 days of the transaction. Transactions from Aug. 25 to Sept. 23 must be reported by Oct. 1. From Sept. 24 to Election Day, transactions must be reported within seven days.
Rep. Greg Walden, R-Hood River, is involved in two campaigns. The first is his own attempt to win an 11th term representing Oregon’s 2nd Congressional District. The other is the race for House Speaker, where he could be a voter, a broker or a candidate. House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin is retiring. If Republicans hold onto their majority in the House, they will probably pick a new speaker, most likely either House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, or the more conservative House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana. But two Washington political publications — Roll Call and The Hill — say Walden is a possible compromise candidate if the front-runners falter. Walden gets points with GOP members as a financial “rainmaker” while heading the National Republican Campaign Committee. Walden is “an acceptable option,” according to Roll Call. The Hill listed Walden as among “dark horse” candidates for the top job. But one unnamed member of the conservative Freedom Caucus dismissed Walden as “too liberal.”. Asked for comment on the internal maneuvering, Walden said through aide Justin Discigil that he was concentrating on his district and his chairmanship of the House Energy & Commerce Committee.
Portland sales tax goes to voters
An initiative to add a 1 percent tax on major businesses’ sales to support $30 million in local environmental programs will go before Portland voters in November. The Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Initiative only affects businesses with at least $500,000 in sales within city limits, according to The Oregonian. The initiative exempts groceries and medicine. Opponents say the tax will put Portland businesses at a competitive disadvantage with those in areas without a tax.
— Reporter: 541-640-2750, firstname.lastname@example.org