Writings and observations

Big spenders

Pardon the long post, but in this case the detail is the point: What follows is a summary of top spenders in the Oregon legislative races this year.

Specifically, we looked at every race where either contributions or expenditures hit $100,000 or more, and a few other races of interest besides. The result seems a useful snapshot of where some things are headed, and where others might be.

Details below the fold.

First, the very biggest fundraisers.

They were not in the Senate, but rather in the House. The biggest by a long shot was House speaker Karen Minnis (District 49), now locked in a fierce battle for re-election; she raised $431,546, surely a record by an order of magnitude or two for a state House seat in Oregon. Her opponent, Democrat Rob Brading, is far behind in the money race but still in third place among all House candidates, having raised $154,730. But second place among fundraisers – pulling in $287,329 – was Majority Leader Wayne Scott of Canby, who not so long ago seemed not to have much of a race on his hands at all. More recently, abruptly, it seems that he does, even though his Democratic opponent, Mike Caudle, has raised just $20,966, barely one-fourteenth of Scott’s total. Did Scott somehow sense that he might just need the money?

Fourth-highest fundraiser was another member of House leadership, Billy Dalto, who apparently needs the money: His opponent, Brian Clem, was not far behind (7th top fundraiser).

The biggest money in the Senate was where it was expected, in Eugene, in the District 7 race between incumbent Democratic Vicki Walker and Republican challenger Jim Torrey: They were the number one and number two fundraisers among all Senate candidates. But not in the order many probably expected. Walker raised more than a quarter-million dollars and Torrey not quite $200,000.

Two other Senate races round out the big-money contests, with candidates on both sides raising enough money to provide a more or less even playing field: Districts 10 and 26. (Republican Senator Jackie Winters raised much less than Democrat Paul Evans recently, but she has funds available from past campaigns.)

Here’s the Senate list.

District Candidate Raised Spent
Senate 7 Vicki Walker D $256,634 $211,707
Senate 7 Jim Torrey R $190,367 $187,422
Senate 10 Jackie Winters R $69,430 $57,111
Senate 10 Paul Evans D $143,598 $89,774
Senate 11 Peter Courtney D $109,305 $84,037
Senate 11 Jered Thatcher R $7,139 $6,274
Senate 26 Rick Metsger D $139,731 $115,513
Senate 26 Carol York R $122,681 $112,370

Apart from the two big leadership races, we took note of the rerun this year in District 10 (the Newport-area coastal district), where Democratic incumbent Alan Brown and Democratic challenger Jean Cowan both are raising big bucks running in a rural area. The interest is heightened there because they ran against each other two years ago and produced the closest House race in Oregon.

House races of note, including some smaller-money contests we think of interest.

District Candidate Raised Spent
District 9 Arnie Roblan D $91,360 $100,481
District 9 Al Pearn R $17,163 $16,056
District 10 Alan Brown R $143,390 $121,034
District 10 Jean Cowan D $109,964 $109,345
District 14 Debi Farr R $91,229 $70,353
District 14 Chris Edwards D $132,300 $122,582
District 17 Fred Girod R $62,371 $19,738
District 17 Dan Thackaberry D $15,366 $10,599
District 18 Mac Sumner R $14,583 $19,288
District 18 Jim Gilbert D $25,868 $22,036
District 21 Billy Dalto R $151,618 $92,433
District 21 Brian Clem D $131,734 $141,060
District 24 Donna Nelson R $0 $0
District 24 Sal Peralta D $11,711 $5,447
District 25 Kim Thatcher R $65,158 $38,964
District 25 Charles Lee D $49,003 $53,357
District 27 Tobias Read D $68,876 $45,544
District 27 Domonic Biggi R $109,362 $110,350
District 29 Chuck Riley D $56,031 $48,227
District 29 Terry Rilling R $78,879 $71,933
District 35 Larry Galizio D $105,966 $108,920
District 35 Shirley Parsons R $98,913 $97,378
District 39 Wayne Scott R $287,329 $186,864
District 39 Mike Caudle D $20,966 $22,041
District 48 Mike Schaufler D $49,190 $109,569
District 48 Dave Mowry R $0 $0
District 49 Karen Minnis R $431,546 $232,738
District 49 Rob Brading D $154,730 $141,698

A note: These figures don’t always provide a full picture. For example, in District 24, Donna Nelson has additional funds from past campaigns on which she could draw. And a number of other legislators have done similarly – raised and spent modestly this cycle, while banking a large fund from earlier years.

Any rough conclusions from this?

We probably underestimated the heat in the Metsger-York race, and will have to pay more attention. But generally, the intensity seems to be where we thought it would be, based (with exceptions) around the larger Portland suburbs and in House leadership.

Next phase gets underway.

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