The donation: $8,200
Who gave it? The Senate Democratic Leadership Fund, the campaign arm of the Senate Democrats.
Who got it? State Sen. Rod Monroe (D-East Portland), who is running in a hotly contested Democratic primary.
Why is it interesting? Monroe, a landlord who has taken heavy fire for his lack of support for tenant protections, faces two strong challengers: former state Rep. Shemia Fagan (D-Clackamas) and Unite Oregon executive director Kayse Jama. Monroe has raised $243,000 so far, more than his opponents combined. Democratic interest groups, including the three largest public employee unions and the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association, however, have endorsed Fagan. Those groups are also major supporters of the Senate Democrats—which makes the SDLF giving money to Monroe awkward, especially if either Fagan or Jama unseats him.
What do the Senate Democrats say? SDLF spokesman Tom Powers says contested primaries are rare but his group always backs incumbents. "At SDLF, we're part of Team Rod Monroe," Powers says. "In 2010, Rod had a primary and SDLF had his back then. There have not been any contested primaries against an incumbent since."