Who are the biggest donors in the Oregon governor’s race?

Author: Anthony Macuk (KGW)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KGW) — Oregonians are watching a unique three-way race for governor play out this year, and that means a lot of money is being tossed around.

Tina Kotek, Christine Drazan and Betsy Johnson have raised a combined total of more than $26 million so far this year, and they’ve collectively spent nearly $24 million — that’s counting from January and including campaign activity during the primary election back in May.

Here’s a breakdown of where the three campaigns stand in terms of finances, and the sources of each candidate’s biggest contributions. These figures are all drawn Oregon Secretary of State’s Orestar campaign finance database as of Tuesday.

It’s worth noting that although the candidates are required to log all their campaign contributions and expenditures in Orestar, they don’t have to do it immediately, so not all transactions from the past week are included yet.

Johnson began this year with the biggest cash advantage: her campaign committee had nearly $3 million already banked, compared with a bit more than half a million for Kotek and a little less than half a million for Drazan. But the other two have closed most of that gap over the summer.

Kotek has raised about $9.2 million in cash donations this year, while Drazan and Johnson have each raised about $8.4 million. Johnson has spent about $8.8 million so far this year, while Kotek has spent about $7.8 million and Drazan has spent about $7.3 million.

So where does all that leave them?

As of Tuesday, with seven weeks to go until election day, the three candidates are in roughly the same ballpark in terms of how much cash their campaigns have on hand. Johnson has about $2.6 million, Kotek has about $2.5 million and Drazan trails slightly with about $2 million.

Now the other big question – where is all the money coming from?

First, a quick rundown on small donors. A large majority of each candidate’s contributions this year have been donations of $1,000 or less, and most of those came from individual Oregonians, but those small donations collectively account for less than $1 million of what each campaign has raised.

Most of the millions are coming from larger donations, and each candidate has pulled in some eye-popping sums from specific groups or individual donors.

The two biggest contributors in this race are national political organizations: The Democratic Governors Association has kicked in a total of just over $3.1 million for Kotek, and the Republican Governors Association has given just over $2.6 million to Drazan.

The rest of the top end of Kotek’s donor list includes a lot of political action committees and labor groups, such as $565,000 from the Citizen Action for Political Education PAC, $340,000 from Stand for Children Oregon, $250,000 from the Oregon League of Conservation Voters, $125,000 from the Oregon Nurses PAC and $100,000 from the Local 48 Electricians PAC.

The top of Drazan’s donation list leans more toward businesses, including $500,000 total from lumber company Swanson Group, $350,000 total from Murphy Plywood, $250,000 over the past year from the Stephen J Harder Trust, $250,000 each total from Bluewater Farm and K&E Excavating, $165,000 from Team Management Co, $150,000 from Cynthia Harder and $100,000 from the Association of General Contractors Committee for Action.

As an unaffiliated candidate, Johnson’s donor list doesn’t include national political machines, but it does include Phil Knight.

The Nike co-founder is her biggest donor by far, having chipped in $1.5 million split across two donations in April, plus a previous $250,000 in January. Her next biggest donor is Eugene-based heavy equipment company The Papé Group, which gave $500,000 in April on top of $250,000 in November 2021.

Other major individual contributors include Columbia Sportswear CEO Tim Boyle, who has put in $400,000 total over the past year, Lithia Motors founder Sidney DeBoer, who has put in $250,000 total this year, and Paula Teevin, whose husband Shawn Teevin owns a logging company, who has put in $200,000 total over the past year.

Johnson’s biggest other corporate donations include $250,000 total from Springboard Group, $200,000 each from Sierra Pacific Industries and Sause Bros., $150,000 each from Hampton Lumber, Global Companies LLC and Roseburg Forest Product Co., $125,000 from Schnitzer Properties LLC and $100,000 each from Harsch Investment Properties, OrePac Building Products and Gee Automotive.

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