Nike co-founder Phil Knight wrote Republican nominee for governor Christine Drazan a $500,000 check Oct. 25, although it was only reported today. That check brings Knight’s total contributions to Drazan to $1.5 million. He earlier gave the unaffiliated candidate, Betsy Johnson, $3.75 million.
Meanwhile, Democrat Tina Kotek is pulling in money from all directions: On top of another $500,000 from the Democratic Governors Association and big checks from labor and conservation groups, Kotek disclosed a $25,000 check from Laura Ricketts, who lists her occupation as “co-owner of the Chicago Cubs,” and $10,000 from Melinda Gates, the ex-wife of Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
Ricketts’ donation is her first in Oregon. Her father, Joe Ricketts, made a fortune by founding the brokerage firm TD AmeriTrade. He has been a leading donor to former President Donald Trump. Trump endorsed Laura Ricketts’ brother, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, but Laura Ricketts has been a longtime Democratic donor, giving $250,000 to President Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Melinda Gates has not previously donated to Kotek, but she did give Nicholas Kristof, the New York Times journalist who opposed Kotek in the Democratic primary, $50,000.
Both candidates have relied heavily on out-of-state money.
Kotek has now raised $25.6 million and has $677,000 on hand; Drazan has raised $19.2 million and has $1.6 million on hand.