July 16th, 2014 | by NIGEL JAQUISS News | Posted In: Politics, Business

A Good Day for Candidate John Kitzhaber: Updated

Top GOP funders write checks to Democratic incumbent

news_4027(kitzhaber)Gov. John Kitzhaber - IMAGE: WW Staff
Gov. John Kitzhaber today recorded two contributions that should allow him to have a more relaxing summer.

Kitzhaber, a Democrat seeking to become the first four-term governor in Oregon history, disclosed contributions of $25,000 from Karl "Rick" Miller, a founder of the Avamere Health Services, and $10,000 from Andrew Miller, the CEO of Stimson Lumber. (The two Millers are not related).

Kitzhaber already enjoys a 10-to1 lead in terms of cash-on-hand over his Republican opponent, State Rep. Dennis Richardson (R-Central Point), so the new money doesn't change the relative fundraising balance much.

It does, however, signal that two of the largest supporters of Kitzhaber's 2010 opponent, former Portland Trail Blazer Chris Dudley, are unenthusiastic about Richardson's chances.

In 2010, Karl Miller gave Dudley $75,000; Andrew Miller gave Dudley $8,500 and Stimson Lumber gave him $435,000. That kind of local support helped Dudley raise money from other big Oregon donors and showed national funders a strong base of support here.

After Richardson declared his candidacy for governor last July, Stimson gave him $20,000 and Andrew Miller gave him $5,000 but the six-term incumbent lawmaker has struggled to find other financial support for his campaign: he's raised just $536,000 in twelve months and has only $87,000 on hand.

And although Richardson disclosed some out-of-state contributions earlier this week, the check from the two Millers to Kitzhaber send a troubling signal to potential Richardson donors.

Updated at 2:25 pm: The contributions to Kitzhaber also mark a break-up of the sorts for the team that put together the Oregon Transformation Project, a 2012 effort to revive the Republican political fortunes in Oregon. Richardson, then a co-chairman of the Legislature's budget-writing Joint Ways and Means Committee, also chaired the Transformation Project. The Transformation Project's political action committee drew major funding from Stimson and Karl Miller.
 
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