today disclosed a $30,000 contribution to House District 25 (Keizer and parts of Salem) GOP candidate Barbara Jensen,
making what was already one of May's top legislative races more interesting.
The drama started in December, when incumbent Rep. Kim Thatcher
(R-Keizer) announced she would seek the Senate seat being vacated by state Sen. Larry George
(R-Sherwood), who is retiring.
Conservative Salem radio host Bill Post
immediately announced he'd run for Thatcher's seat and he had no competition until February, whenJensen, a Salem IT consultant and former state manager, jumped into the race. Jensen's candidacy caused heartburn
in the GOP caucus because Republicans are on the wrong side of 34 to 26 partisan split in the House and some members would like to use all resources to try to win back swing seats rather than on contested primaries.
That sentiment played a role in caucus elections
Republicans held during the February legislative session and led to the defeat of the deputy House minority leader, Julie Parrish
(R-West Linn). Parrish was responsible for campaign strategy and some of her colleagues blamed her for recruiting Jensen.
Then last week, The Oregonian reported
that Jensen filed a complaint with Post's station, KYKN (1430 AM), saying that Post's three-hour daily show amounted to free advertising. Post's show is now off the air.
So all that is the backdrop for Stimson's $30,000 check—a large contribution for a House primary no matter what the context. The check sends a pretty clear message
: the state's largest GOP donor is fine with competitive primaries, and, Stimson and its CEO Andrew Miller are sending an indirect rebuke to the caucus for dethroning Parrish.
Jensen has now raised $50,000 and Post, $30,000.