SALEM — New campaign finance statements this week offer the most accurate financial snapshots to date of the Oregon governor’s race, which has blown past its former fundraising peak to collect a record $20.4 million, with perhaps millions more to come.
Gov. Kate Brown and her Republican challenger, state Rep. Knute Buehler of Bend, are neck-and-neck in campaign spending at $8.5 million each as the race for governor enters its final five weeks.
Campaign finance reports filed with the Oregon Secretary of State through Tuesday show that on the fundraising side, Brown has brought in $11.9 million, while Buehler has raised $8.5 million.
The $20.4 million total in contributions to the candidates eclipses the former record $17.7 million raised in the 2010 governor’s race in which Democrat John Kitzhaber narrowly defeated Republican Chris Dudley.
Brown has $3.5 million cash on hand. Buehler has $1.7 million in bank.
Transactions must now be reported within one week of occurring. Previously, the campaigns had up to 30 days to report transactions. The most recent reports give totals through Sept. 25 for both campaigns.
The totals do not include independent expenditures by outside groups on behalf of candidates.
If prior campaigns for governor are any indication, there could be millions more coming into the coffers of the two campaigns, if contributors on both sides believe the race is close.
The latest reports included $750,000 contributed to Buehler by the Republican Governors Association. All told, the group has given $786,900 to Buehler. In 2010, the same group gave $2.5 million to Dudley, most of it in the final weeks of the campaign. Buehler’s largest contributor has been Nike co-founder Phil Knight, who has given $1.5 million.
The latest filings by Brown showed she received $100,000 from the Oregon Education Association. Brown’s largest contribution is $500,000 from the pro-choice group EMILY’s List. It had been previously reported.
The records showed Buehler has spent $4.3 million on broadcast advertising purchases through Strategic Media Services of Arlington, Virginia.
Brown has spent $2.4 million on broadcast advertising through Buying Time LLC, a campaign consulting firm in Washington, D.C.
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