Politicians are now in the fallow period between the recently-completed May primary and Labor Day—the end-of-summer holiday that will mark the beginning of the dash toward the Nov. 6 general election.
But Nike Chairman Phil Knight's $25,000 contribution over the weekend to co-House Speaker Bruce Hanna gives the Roseburg Republican a helpful boost.
Hanna, who owns a safe seat, is focused on trying to break the current 30-30 deadlock in the Oregon House. He will use the money in his political action committee—now at $260,000 after Knight's gift—to help GOP candidates in close races.
Hanna is well ahead of his Democratic peer, Rep. Tina Kotek (D-Portland), who has $70,000 on hand. Kotek's situation is complicated because she is not co-Speaker but rather Democratic caucus leader. The Democratic co-Speaker, Rep. Arnie Roblan (D-Coos Bay) is running for a state Senate seat.
The balance is reversed in the House caucus political action committees, which are another way the two parties support candidates in close races. Future PAC, the Democrats' caucus committee, currently has $250,000 on hand, while Promote Oregon, the Republican House PAC, contains $136,000.