A proposed deal among the Democratic candidates for Oregon secretary of state for voluntary campaign-donation limits appears to have faltered.
Three candidates are on board, according to documents obtained by WW, but a fourth candidate, state Rep. Jennifer Williamson (D-Portland), tells WW she plans to stick to her own self-imposed limits.
The agreement among three candidates, according to the document obtained by WW, would limit campaign-finance contributions to $500 per person and $1,000 for each organization (which would include labor unions, advocacy organizations and other nonprofits, according to Sen. Mark Hass, who agreed to the limits). It would also prohibit negative campaigning, "jointly disavow, through a joint press conference or press release, any negative independent expenditures attacking any Democrat in the race" and includes 10 debates across Oregon.
"I'm in, but it has to be everybody," Hass (D-Beaverton) tells WW.
In an email obtained by WW, Brooke Goldberg, campaign manage for Jamie McLeod-Skinner, asks Rep. Jennifer Williamson if she would be willing to participate. (Sen. Mark Hass and Ryan Wruck were part of a conversation to agree to limits, according to the email.)
Williamson declined to participate.
Williamson has previously told Oregon Public Broadcasting that she'll limit herself to contributions of $2,000 for each for-profit company that does business in Oregon and no donations from companies who aren't doing business in the state. (Nonprofits, including advocacy organizations and unions, would be exempt from that pledge, Williamson told OPB.)
"This reflects my values," Williamson tells WW. "That's the kind of candidate I am. That's the kind of secretary of state I will be."
She won't agree to a pact the other campaigns proposed, she tells WW.
Hass told OPB he'd support a lower limit of $250 per donor, but he tells WW he won't limit donations in the absence of an agreement from all candidates. And McLeod-Skinner had floated the idea of using a higher, federal campaign caps as a limit. In Oct. 26 press release, her campaign had called on other candidates to agree to limits. "If candidates are serious about this issue, we need to step up and lead by example, even in the absence of regulations," she said at the time.
McLeod-Skinner's campaign declined to comment, citing the fact they had not yet heard from Williamson, but noted that Williamson was invited to participate.
Williamson says she won't be agreeing the compact between the campaigns.
"I am really glad the other candidates in this race are thinking critically about important issues," Williamson says. "I encourage each of them to step up and commit to the plan that's right for them."
The legislature has referred a constitutional amendment to voters that would allow campaign finance limits. Currently, Oregon has no limits on campaign donations.
"Everyone needs to do what's best for their campaign," says Williamson.
Cameron Smith, who resigned today as the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services to enter the Democratic primary, says he'd support "equitable, shared campaign finance limits in this race."
"There have been some good ideas discussed, including using the federal limits, and I look forward to talking with the other candidates in the race to see if we can find shared agreement," he says.