Nike co-founder Phil Knight's gotten a lot of ink for his extraordinary support of state Rep. Knute Buehler (R-Bend) in the current governor's race. Knight has given Buehler $2.5 million directly and also given at least $1 million to the Republican Governors' Association, which has given $2.46 million to Buehler.
But late Friday, the Vote No on 103 campaign, which opposes a ban on grocery taxes, disclosed a $1.5 million check from Michael Bloomberg, the former New York mayor and founder of the media company that bears his name.
Bloomberg , a major funder of public health initiatives around the country, is the leading supporter of taxes on sweetened sodas and other sugary drinks. Such taxes have passed in Seattle, San Francisco and Oakland—but a proposed tax in Multnomah County has stalled, despite years of effort and lots of Bloomberg's money.
It appears that Measure 103, backed by the grocery industry, would prohibit the imposition of a soda tax at the local or state level, a likely reason for Bloomberg to oppose it.
Bloomberg's $1.5 million check is the biggest from any individual since the state began keeping electronic records of campaign contributions in 2006. (Knight's checks to Buehler, although larger in aggregate, have been two contributions of $1 million each and one of $500,000.)
Bloomberg's new record check breaks the record he set previously with a $1.25 million check in 2014 to Yes on Measure 90, the campaign seeking to establish open primaries. Despite Bloomberg's generosity voters overwhelmingly defeated open primaries by a margin of 68 percent to 32 percent.
No on 103 has now raised $2.6 million and has $1.4 million on hand. The Yes! Keep Our Groceries Tax Free! campaign has raised $5.6 million and has $689,000 on hand.