Kristof

Nick Kristof says he is running for governor.

The 2022 election campaign received a jolt of political adrenaline on Monday as former New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof reported over $1 million in contributions for his bid for Oregon governor.

The report filed exactly one year before the Nov. 8, 2022, general election catapulted Kristof to the front of the race for campaign dollars.

Kristof’s “Nick for Oregon” committee raised $1,010,999 from contributions dating to Oct. 15, though he did not announce he was running until Oct. 27.

The campaign reported no expenditures. Under state law, candidates have up to 30 days to report money raised or spent.

Kristof showcased his national reach, with 26 of the 29 largest donations of $10,000 or more coming from out of state. In all, more than 400 of the individual contributions came from outside of Oregon.

The campaign’s announcement of the fundraising total focused on in-state money given to Kristof. It noted 2,522 Oregonians in 35 of 36 Oregon counties contributing.

“I am so grateful for this outpouring of support from all over Oregon,” Kristof said. “It’s clear: people from every corner of this state are ready for new leadership.”

Kristof’s best-known and financed Democratic rivals are House Speaker Tina Kotek of Portland and Treasurer Tobias Read.

As of Monday, Kotek reported $414,103 in contributions. When added to money she has from her 2020 reelection campaign, she reports $456,887 in current funds.

Read’s campaign has reported raising $485,886 and has a cash balance of $328,163.

Among Republicans, 2016 candidate for governor Bud Pierce of Salem has raised the most money. The Salem oncologist took in $748,040 this year including $340,000 of his own money. He reports $203,529 in the bank.

Sen. Betsy Johnson, D-Scappoose, has announced she will run as an independent. She has to submit 23,750 valid signatures to go directly to the November ballot. Johnson reports raising $65,850 this year and has $522,605 in the bank from previous campaigns.

Under Oregon’s generous campaign finance laws and rules, anyone or anything can give unlimited money. Candidates have up to 30 days to report the contributions during most of the campaign.

Read, Kotek, Johnson, Pierce and several other candidates have been actively fundraising this year. But only Pierce is among the 17 candidates who have officially filed to run for governor next year. Candidates have until March 8, 2022, to file, but can raise funds by creating finance committees with the secretary of state.

Kristof’s report was topped by a trio of $50,000 contributions from out of state:

• Melinda French Gates of Kirkland, Washington, philanthropist and the ex-wife of Microsoft founder Bill Gates. She is a former Microsoft manager who is an active philanthropist and political contributor. Forbes estimates her personal worth at $6.3 billion.

• David Cohen, a Charlotte, North Carolina, venture capitalist. A former Goldman Sachs executive, Cohen is co-founder of Enza Capital, which focuses on early stage investments in Africa. Kristof wrote in 2019 of having lunch with the fellow former Rhodes Scholar to plan a charity campaign. He’s given donations up to $500,000 to Democratic and climate action PACs.

• Thomas Bernthal, the Los Angeles-based CEO of Kelton Global, a strategic marketing firm. A former NBC News producer and Clinton White House staffer, Bernthal has worked on branding with major corporations, including Nike, Facebook, Google, Amazon and General Electric.

The three Oregonians giving $10,000 were:

• Glen Van Peski, chairman of Gossamer Gear in Bend.

• Douglas Tunnell, a former CBS News reporter, who lives in Newberg and is owner of Brick House Vineyards.

• Audra King, Eugene. Listed as “not employed.”

Among those contributing at least $10,000 was the trust of actress Angelina Jolie, of Los Angeles.

The 2018 campaign for governor set a state record with incumbent Gov. Kate Brown and challenger Knute Buehler, R-Bend, raising just under $40 million in direct contributions to their campaigns.

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