Working Families Party Contributions to Mike Schmidt Grow to $213,000

Former state Sen. Chip Shields also kicks in $85,000 to the incumbent’s kitty.

Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt. (Mick Hangland-Skill)

The benefits of a mysterious $340,000 contribution to the Working Families Party of Oregon continue to accrue to incumbent Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt.

New filings with the Oregon secretary of state show the Working Families Party has now contributed $213,000 of that sum to Schmidt’s campaign. The top prosecutor faces a stiff challenge from Nathan Vasquez, a senior deputy district attorney in Schmidt’s office.

About a week ago, Vasquez, who has drawn strong support from the business community as well as endorsements from public safety and prosecutors unions, held a commanding fundraising advantage over Schmidt. But in the past week, WFP and former state Sen. Chip Shields (D-Portland) have helped Schmidt narrow that gap. Shields, whose family owns an oil-products business in St. Louis, contributed $85,000 to Schmidt this week, bringing his total contributions to the DA this year to $133,540.

Although voter-passed contribution limits in the Multnomah County Commission races limit donations to $568 per individual contributor per election cycle, those limits do not apply to the district attorney’s race because DAs are state employees.

WW first noted on April 24 that WFP had received a $340,000 contribution in its otherwise empty coffers. Soon Portlanders, including DHM pollster John Horvick, began to report getting live phone calls (distinct from robocalls) from WFP extolling Schmidt’s virtues. On April 29 the party disclosed a $60,000 expenditure on Schmidt’s behalf.

Where the money really originated and whether WFP will spend the rest of its windfall on Schmidt remain a mystery. Vanessa Clifford, northwest regional director for WFP, declined to specify the source of the money, saying the WFP has many donors. “We have several priorities in Oregon, one of which is the Portland DA race,” she says, “and we continue to evaluate our investments on a day-to-day basis.”

Schmidt has now raised $807,000 for the race. Vasquez has now raised $1.033 million, but with the recent influx, Schmidt has actually raised slightly more than his opponent in calendar year 2024—$578,000 to $563,000.

The candidates have about the same amount of money on hand: $140,000 for Schmidt and $122,000 for Vasquez, who shifted $610,000 to his campaign advertising firm recently.

WW endorsed Vasquez in the race. Ballots were mailed earlier this week and will be counted May 21.

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