Today's story about the spending habits of State Rep. Mike Schaufler (D-Happy Valley), whose district includes parts of Southeast Portland, omitted some relevant information—who Schaufler's contributors are.
To prepare for last year's general election, Schaufler, then a four-term incumbent, raised $210,000 in 2009 and 2010. His biggest contributions for the election cycle came from the Oregon Forest Industries Council ($5,000), the Oregon Beverage PAC ($5,000), Associated General Contractors ($5,000), Grocery Outlet ($5,000), Oregon Medical PAC ($4,000 total in 2010), Regence Blue Cross PAC ($3,000), Pfizer ($3,000) and Davis Wright Tremaine ($3,000—disclosure: DWT represents WW).
In the end, it turned out that Schaufler did not need the money because even in a banner year for Republicans, the GOP failed to field a candidate in his district, making him one of only two House Democrats who did not face a major party opponent. (Rep. Lew Frederick (D-Portland) was the other.) Schaufler's primary opponent, Jeff Caton of the Independent Party, spent only $6,000 and lost to Schaufler 57 percent to 43 percent. Because he faced such light opposition, Schaufler entered 2011 with $49,000 in his campaign account, giving him ample spending money for legislative session.
This session, as in sessions past, Schaufler has taken high-profile votes that are out of step with his caucus. Last week, for instance, he was the lone House Democrat to vote against an expansion of the bottle bill. In 2009, he was the lone House Democrat to vote against personal and corporate income tax increases.
Schaufler says neither those votes nor any others in any way connected to campaign contributions.
"I'm not influenced by them," he told WW on Monday. "Not a bit."