'Tough' Betsy Johnson adds rural balance to state budget process

State Sen. Betsy Johnson, D-Scappoose, is running for governor as a nonaffiliated candidate.

Betsy Johnson’s independent candidacy for governor flexed its fundraising muscle on Thursday, filing a state report that it has $2.3 million on hand for the 2022 race.

Johnson, a longtime Democratic lawmaker in Salem, announced Oct. 14 that she would forego the political party primaries and run as a nonaffiliated candidate. She will have to submit nearly 25,000 signatures next summer to go directly onto the November ballot.

The move sets up a rare three-way race between the winner of the Democratic and Republican party primaries in May.

Johnson is the daughter of the late Samuel Johnson, a long-time Republican House member from Central Oregon and later Redmond mayor.

The campaign finance report included a number of large business community contributions.

The Pape Corp., a Eugene-based construction firm, gave $250,000.

Global Companies of Waltham, Massachusetts, a petroleum and energy marketing business, gave $160,000.

The campaign reported eight cash contributions of $100,000 from:

• Columbia Sportswear CEO Timothy Boyle, Portland

• Hampton Lumber, Portland

• Investor and businessman Peter Stott, Portland

• Paula Teevin, wife of Shawn Teevin, owner of Teevin Land & Timber Co., of Astoria

• Sause Bros. marine services company, Portland

• Harsch Investment Properties, a commercial real estate company, Portland.

• Springboard Group, a nonprofit that lists dental equipment developer Brett Baker of Portland as president.

Alexia dePottere-Smith, a Portland attorney, gave “in-kind” management, surveying and polling work valued at $100,000.

Johnson’s campaign underlined the cross-party support in the filing. Contributors include Mike Bonetto, the then-Republican who served as chief-of-staff to Gov. John Kitzhaber, a Democrat.

Republicans include Antoinette Hatfield, wife of Former U.S. Sen. and Gov. Mark Hatfield, former Eugene Mayor Jim Torrey, and former Portland area Rep. Jeff Helfrich.

“I’m grateful to everyone from across party lines and across Oregon for helping our independent campaign get off to a strong start,” Johnson said in a statement. “I only wish I had more time to return calls — we’d have even more in the account!”

Johnson, a state senator from Scappoose in northwestern Oregon, announced Oct. 14 that she would seek the governor’s office via a rare route — gathering signatures to qualify on the ballot as an independent.

Johnson’s filing with the secretary of state is her first since Oct. 10.

The race is already attracting significant money for candidates.

Former New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, who lives in Yamhill County, has raised $1.23 million since announcing last month that he would run as a Democrat for governor. He’s spent $189,933 and has $1.04 million in cash.

House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, announced a run for governor just before Labor Day. As of Monday, she had raised $440,442. Spent $56,354 and has $475,206 cash on hand. On Sept. 1, Kotek revised her campaign finance committee from a House reelection fund to a run for governor. Her account reflects activity through Nov. 16.

Treasurer Tobias Read is seeking the governor’s office. His campaign reported raising $661,018, while spending $229,295. He had $500,876 in cash. His account reflects activity through Nov. 8. He amended his campaign finance filing to a run for governor on Sept. 27.

Prior to Thursday, Johnson had not reported campaign fundraising and spending since Oct. 10, soon after she announced plans to mount an independent bid for governor.

At that time, the secretary of state’s website showed Johnson with $521,605 in available cash, the bulk coming from $524,403 she rolled over from her state Senate campaign finance committee. For 2021, Johnson had raised $65,850 and spent $68,869.

Johnson filed a finance reporting amendment on Oct. 10, switching the target for future fundraising from reelection to Senate District 18 to the governor’s race. The committee was renamed as “Run, Betsy, Run.”

Johnson’s early campaign finance report showed cracks in the two-party system, with Sen. Lee Beyer, D-Springfield, giving her campaign $1,000. As first reported by Willamette Week on Thursday, Beyer first won a seat in the House in 1990. Beyer has also contributed $5,000 to Treasurer Tobias Read’s campaign for the Democratic nomination for governor.

Among Republicans, 2016 GOP gubernatorial nominee Bud Pierce of Salem is the top fundraiser. He has taken in $752,939 — with a significant percentage coming from his own funds. He’s spent $583,186.

Johnson, a member of the Oregon Legislature since 2001, said earlier that she wanted to be a centrist option between the extremes of a “left-wing liberal” and a “right-wing Trump apologist.”

“Oregonians are ready to move to the middle where sensible solutions are found,” Johnson said.

Sign up for our Daily Headlines newsletter

(2) comments

Transitory Inflation

Very nice start I would say.



Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.