Short of Nurkic Fever, U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) is suddenly the hottest topic in Portland.
As chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Walden has taken a central role in replacing Obamacare with Trumpcare. That's made him a target of scrutiny by Portland progressives, Oregon media outlets and constituents in his own congressional district, a vast swath of rural Oregon surrounding Bend.
But federal filings show that powerful corporate interests have long recognized the value of investing in Walden, who for the past two cycles served as chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.
His job was to help identify and elect candidates, which put him in a position to build lasting relationships in his caucus. His donors put themselves in positions to capitalize on those ties. Walden hasn't drawn a serious challenge since his first race in 1998, but in the past two cycles he's raised $9.98 million across three committees he controls—more than three times the total of his Democratic peer, U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, and far more than any other Oregon member of the House.
Here's who supports Walden—and what interests they have.
Top 5 Contributors to the 2016 Walden Committees
They want: Less regulation, more bandwidth.
Pharma/Health Products: $299,000
They want: Higher drug prices.
Electric Utilities: $248,000
They want: Grid expansion.
Health Professionals: $237,000
They want: Higher Medicare fees.
They want: Low artist royalties.
National Association of Broadcasters: $111,000
It wants: Less regulation.
Cow Creek Tribe: $100,000
It wants: No new Indian casinos.
General Communications Inc.: $82,000
It wants: Cable TV boxes to preserve market share.
It wants: The same as General Communications.
Alphabet (Google): $33,000
It wants: Self-driving vehicles.
Confident: Although Bend, the largest city in Walden's district, is turning a little bluer, Republicans still enjoy a voter registration advantage of 8.8 percentage points over Democrats in the district. That's slightly larger than the 8.6-point advantage Republicans had in 2001.
Comfortable: Congressional funding watchdog Open Secrets pegs Walden's estimated net worth at $2.917 million. He ran his family's radio business before entering Congress. That's a tidy sum, but less than that of other members of Oregon's delegation, except Democrats Jeff Merkley ($2.9 million) in the Senate and Peter DeFazio ($1.1 million) in the House.
Collaborative: Walden and DeFazio co-founded the congressional craft brew caucus in 2007. There are now 187 members of the caucus, representing 42 states.