As the debate
begins about whether to continue Portland's practice of publicly-financed city elections
, it's worth looking at what happens in other Oregon races that are entirely financed by private donors and interest groups.
The effect of public financing in Portland
has been to limit individual donations in most cases to $500 or less (although privately financed candidates do sometimes accept larger checks). In other races throughout Oregon, there are no limits since Oregon is one of only six states to allow unlimited contributions.
Even as elections officials counted ballots last Tuesday, lots of cash continued to flow into closely contested non-city races.
GOP gubernatorial winner Chris Dudley
picked up four $10,000 checks last week: one from Greenbrier CEO Bill Furman; another from Greenbrier and one each from Lake Oswego surgeon Darell Brett and investment manager Donald Polluck. Dudley reports about $75,000 on hand as he enters the general election. His Democratic rival, ex-Gov. John Kitzhaber
reports about $155,000 on hand.
In the Metro Council President's race, Rex Burkholder
reported a $100,000 loan from his wife, Lydia Rich on May 14. One of his opponents, former 1000 Friends of Oregon executive director Bob Stacey
partially countered that cash infusion with a $17,000 contributor from winemaker Eric Lemelson, who gave a total of $45,000 to Stacey's primary campaign. Stacey will face former Hillsboro Mayor Tom Hughes in a November run-off.
Other last-minute checks may continue to show up through tomorrow on the Secretary of State's ORESTAR system as candidates have a week to report transactions.