The Liftoff: Nick Kristof's eye-popping fundraising
PLUS: Serious competition for the Portland City Council, Newberg erupts (again), Schrader and Salinas announce their intentions, and what the VA and NJ election results mean for Oregon.
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1. Eye-popping fundraising numbers for Kristof
Nick Kristof is the first candidate for governor to clear $1 million raised—and he did it in just a few weeks. He has about double that of his chief Democratic rivals (and in some cases more). Kristof has attracted money from some big names, including Angelina Jolie, Melinda Gates, and Larry Summers. He also brought in over $150,000 in small-dollar contributions (under $100). The vast majority of his money has come from out-of-state donors. OPB has a great write-up.
Why it matters: In Oregon, each of those $10k, $20k, and $50k donors can give literally as much money as they want throughout the campaign. Kristof’s fundraising, both large and small dollar, is proof that he is a bonafide celebrity. That means he will likely raise millions more in the primary. If Angelina Jolie or Melina Gates throw a house party fundraiser, one can only imagine the names (and checkbooks) that will walk through the door. In order to compete financially, other Dems will need big checks from institutions (labor, environmental, pro-choice, etc.).
But: The other Dems might not need to match Kristof dollar-for-dollar to win. Kristof is already running into direct opposition from some Oregon politicos (look no further than Twitter), in a way that Speaker Tina Kotek and Treasurer Tobias Read have largely (though not entirely) avoided. Willamette Week conducted the most in-depth interview yet with Kristof and used a somewhat negative framing of how it went, saying:
Last week, Kristof met with WW reporters and editors at our office for his most extensive interview since officially entering the race. More than an hour later, he still remained an enigma.
Kristof displayed humility, keen intelligence and a sunny optimism that Oregon can do better. Yet we still aren’t sure what he would do differently from those now in power—or why he seeks to govern the state where he now resides.
As we’ve said before, this is the most unpredictable Governor’s race in decades. It’s anyone’s guess how this will shake out—but it’s clear that Kristof is a serious contender.
2. Candidate announcements and Portland city hall news
Former State Rep. Akasha Lawrence Spence, who is the frontrunner to be appointed the next state senator in District 18, has announced she will challenge incumbent City Commissioner Dan Ryan in 2022.
Speaking of Ryan, WW has a fascinating write-up on the challenges between the City of Portland and Metro on establishing a car camp.
Laurelhurst Park will be swept again.
State Rep. Lisa Reynolds will run for re-election in a new district in Washington County.
Willamette Week asked candidates for Multnomah County Commission how they would protect renters.
Portland City Commissioner JoAnn Hardesty now supports body cameras for police officers.
3. Newberg School Board fires superintendent without cause; sparks condemnation at state level
Members of the Newberg School Board voted to fire Superintendent Dr. Joe Morelock without cause last week, marking another episode of chaos and culture war playing out in Newberg. Jeff Thompson and Elizabeth Miller at OPB have the full story.
Morelock’s firing came suddenly after Chair Dave Brown added a discussion on “personnel” to the agenda right before the November 9th meeting. The vote was split 4-3 and drew instant outrage from community members, administrators, legislators, and others. The four voting in favor offered no justification for their decision. The story quickly brought Newberg back into the national spotlight which has seen itself make headlines.
Morelock, who helped rescue the district from serious financial distress, has handled the the situation with class and dignity. He spoke at a rally at the district office. An attempted recall of Board Vice Chair Brian Shannon is still gathering signatures.
Stay tuned: The legislative BIPOC caucus released a statement condemning the board and foreshadowed a policy backlash, saying: “Our students deserve better and we will do all that we can in the next legislative session to protect them.”
Sign of the times: Morelock is at least the 4th Oregon Superintendent to be fired this year.
4. Federal News: Schrader vs. McLeod-Skinner in CD5; DeRemer secures endorsement; Salinas is in for CD6
Congressman Kurt Schrader has made his long-waited announcement official: he will run in Oregon’s 5th Congressional district. Schrader’s decision sets him up to go head-to-head in the Democratic primary with progressive favorite Jamie McLeod-Skinner.
Former Happy Valley Mayor Lori Chavez-DeRemer earned a powerful hat-tip in her bid to become the Republican nominee in CD5. DeRemer was part of a small list of 11 “GOP Women to Watch” released by House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik. Stefanik, who is the highest ranking Republican woman in Congress and a close ally of former President Donald Trump, has led a nationwide effort since 2018 to get more GOP women elected to Congress. Sam Chamberlain has the full story for the New York Post.
Meanwhile, the race for the new 6th Congressional District is continuing to take shape. State Rep. Andrea Salinas, who chaired the House Redistricting Committee and previously served as Chair of the House Health Care Committee, will run for the Democratic nomination. She joins former Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith in the race with others rumored to be considering a run. On the R side, moderate Republican State Rep. Ron Noble told OPB that he is preparing to announce a run.
Wait what?: Elon Musk is now battling…Ron Wyden?
5. The Oregon Bridge: How GOP wins in Virginia & New Jersey could impact Oregon
Recent elections in Virginia and New Jersey showed big gains for Republicans. Republican Glenn Youngkin, former co-CEO of the Carlyle Group, defeated former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe in a race that many expected to favor Democrats. Republicans also took control of the Virginia House of Delegates.
In a race that few saw as competitive, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy pulled out a 3-point win against Republican Jack Ciattarelli. Biden won New Jersey by almost 16 points in 2020. Perhaps the most surprising story from New Jersey was that of Edward Durr, a truck driver and political novice who spent a little under $5,000 and defeated Democratic New Jersey State Senate President Steve Sweeney.
So, how might this big night for Republicans on the East Coast impact races in Oregon? Alex and Ben give a full breakdown on this week’s episode of the Oregon Bridge. Listen on Apple, Spotify, Audible, or YouTube.
6. Oregonians agree: health care staffing won’t be the same
Thanks to OVBC for this graphic. With labor shortages across industries, it seems Oregonians of all ages agree: the impact of COVID-19 will reverberate for years when it comes to the the labor pool for health care staff positions.
For more fascinating data from OVBC, check out this link showing strong majorities of Oregonians in support of mask mandates in schools (70%) and vaccine mandates for kids 12+ (57%).
7. News Roundup
Two stories that demonstrate the power of reporting, from Nigel Jaquiss at WW
“Election fraud” claims persist in Oregon, including from legislators. Story from the Capital Chronicle.
From The O: Oregon DOJ makes a weird redistricting argument.
An article in The O highlighting serious issues at Roseway Heights Middle School: “Students, parents call for district to rein in sexual harassment, fighting at Northeast Portland middle school”
A city attorney has withdrawn her name from consideration for appointment to the Oregon Public Records Advisory Council
Thank you for reading.
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