The machinations in Oregon's hotly-contested GOP U.S. Senate primary are getting more and more interesting.
On his blog, Oregon Oracle, Bruce McCain, a former top Multnomah County sheriff's official, tracks down a new federal political action committee formed to oppose state Rep. Jason Conger (R-Bend), who is running against Portland pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Monica Wehby. The two candidates are running in the May primary for the right to challenge incumbent U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.).
McCain searched Federal Elections Committee filings and found a PAC funded by Loren Parks, a longtime GOP contributor who made his money in medical products, and Stimson Lumber CEO Andrew Miller, who has replaced Parks as the GOP's biggest checkbook.
According to its FEC filings, the anti-Conger committee boasts the whimsical name, “If He Votes Like That In Salem Imagine What He Will Do In Congress.” For anyone familiar with Oregon politics in the past 20 years, that committee name is reminiscent of the committee names pioneered and popularized by Gregg Clapper, the public voice of several campaigns financed by Parks. And sure enough, the latest FEC filing for this committee reveals that Clapper has already been paid $7,500 as a consultant to the committee.
The committee’s first quarter report shows that Parks gave the committee $75,000 on March 15, followed by Miller’s $25,000 two days later. Then on March 19, Miller contributed an additional $5,950 in-kind contribution in the form of an anti-Conger billboard on I-205 in Clackamas County. The FEC report indicates $13,450 in expenditures, consisting of the billboard and Clapper’s fee. But that number is certainly higher today, given the committee’s recent media buy for anti-Conger radios ads.