$140,000 on March 10
WHO GOT IT?
Three gubernatorial candidates: unaffiliated Betsy Johnson ($60,000), Democrat Tobias Read ($40,000) and Republican Christine Drazan ($40,000).
WHO GAVE IT?
The Oregon Hospital Political Action Committee
WHY DOES IT MATTER?
What’s most notable is that the state’s hospitals—a powerful industry group—have chosen to donate to a slate of candidates in the governor’s race but not former House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland), the presumptive front-runner in the Democratic primary and thus a serious contender for governor. Instead, they’ve picked her leading opponent in the Democratic primary, a leading Republican, and the well-funded unaffiliated candidate.
The Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems declined to offer specifics why it had opted against Kotek and for a slate of her leading opponents—or to elaborate why it chose the particular candidates it did. “Through a member-driven process, the OAHHS contributions demonstrate our support for the candidates we believe best reflect the values most important to Oregon’s hospitals,” says spokesman David Northfield.
WHAT DO THE CAMPAIGNS SAY?
For years, Service Employees International Union, which represents some hospital workers, has battled the hospitals on compensation and charity care. Johnson’s campaign made a veiled argument that Kotek, a longtime SEIU ally, might have other interests in mind first. “Betsy believes that hospitals deserve a governor who is willing to work with them, not against them,” says Johnson spokeswoman Jennifer Sitton.
Drazan’s campaign said the donation is a good sign. “The association’s contribution is yet another sign that Christine is the strongest Republican candidate in this year’s election,” says Drazan campaign manager Trey Rosser.
Read declined to comment.