Author: KGW Staff
PORTLAND, Ore. (KGW) — Mere weeks after making his latest six-or-more-figure donation to Oregon gubernatorial candidate Betsy Johnson, Phil Knight appears to be switching up his strategy.
The Nike co-founder’s latest $1 million donation, made Thursday and first reported by Willamette Week, went not to the Johnson campaign but to one of her opponents: Republican Christine Drazan.
Johnson, Drazan and Democrat Tina Kotek are in a three-way race for Oregon governor, with former Democrat Johnson running as a nonaffiliated candidate and aiming to present herself as an alternative to the two major party nominees.
Knight has been Johnson’s biggest financial supporter by far, spending a total of $3.75 million on her campaign to date. He started with $250,000 in January, followed by a pair of $750,000 donations in April. The remaining $2 million came in a single donation on Sept. 1.
The Drazan donation comes just over a month later, and in the interim, multiple polls have shown a close race between Drazan and Kotek, with Drazan holding a narrow lead and Johnson several points behind the other two.
A late September poll commissioned by The Oregonian/OregonLive showed Drazan at 32% support , Kotek at 31% and Johnson at 18% with 15% of voters still undecided.
A new poll released this week by Emerson College put Drazan at 36%, Kotek at 34% and Johnson at 19%, with 9% of voters still undecided.