Independent Expenditures for Congressional Candidate Carrick Flynn Approach $6 Million

The first-time candidate for Oregon’s new congressional seat is the envy of a large Democratic field with his deep war chest.

Carrick Flynn, a Democratic candidate for Oregon’s new 6th Congressional District seat, continues to attract enormous financial support from an independent expenditure committee called the Protect Our Future PAC.

Filings with the Federal Election Commission show that through April 6, the PAC has spent $5.8 million to support Flynn, a first-time candidate who grew up in Vernonia before graduating from the University of Oregon and Yale Law School and embarking on a career in artificial intelligence and disaster relief.

It is the latter interest, Flynn’s campaign told WW earlier, that may have attracted Sam Bankman-Fried, the cryptocurrency investor behind the Protect Our Future PAC, to Flynn.

“Carrick’s background and experience make him a leader on pandemic and disaster preparedness,” Flynn’s campaign manager Avital Balwit told WW in March. “He is running for Congress because we need representatives with the expertise to ensure we never go through another pandemic like this again.”

The independent expenditure campaign gives Flynn an outsized advantage in the race to be the Democratic nominee in the new district, which draws most of its voters from Marion County.

The Democratic primary for Oregon’s 6th District includes a slew of interesting candidates: former Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith; two experienced lawmakers, state Reps. Teresa Alonso Leon (D-Woodburn) and Andrea Salinas (D-Lake Oswego); Cody Reynolds, a cryptocurrency investor who’s putting $2.5 million of his own money into the race; Dr. Kathleen Harder, a Salem physician who chaired the Oregon Medical Board; and Intel engineer Matt West.

But to put the nearly $6 million spent on Flynn in perspective, the candidate who enjoys perhaps the greatest level of institutional support in the race, Salinas, told WW last week she’s raised less than $600,000 so far. That’s a respectable sum in a crowded field (and Salinas has garnered key union endorsements and the backing of other progressive interest groups) but a pittance compared to what Bankman-Fried is committing to Flynn.

In addition to a barrage of television, social media and mail ads, that money is paying for an army of canvassers—one expenditure on April 5 showed $847,000 alone for door-knockers.