State Rep. Tobias Read (D-Beaverton) is—at least for now—the only Democratic candidate for state treasurer in 2016. (Jeff Gudman, a Lake Oswego city councilor, has indicated he'll seek the Republican nomination and former state Sen. Chris Telfer (R-Bend), who ran for treasurer in 2010, has also told the Bend Bulletin she may run as a member of the Independent Party).
The most interesting thing about the uncontested race is the source of Read's campaign contributions. He's reported checks from two of the most successful female executives in corporate America.
This week, he reported $5,000 checks from Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook and the author of the best-selling book Lean In.
Read worked for Sandberg in Washington, D.C., when she was chief of staff for then-U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers.
He also reported a $5,000 check from Stacy Schusterman, the CEO of Tulsa-based Samson Resources Corp. Although Schusterman may not be as well-known as Sandberg, she executed one of the most remarkable transactions in recent years, selling Samson, then a family-owned oil and gas producer, to the leveraged buyout firm KKR in 2011 for $7.2 billion.
That sale left Schusterman's mother, Lynn Schusterman, with a net worth Forbes pegged this year at $3.5 billion and put another $2 billion in the Schusterman family foundation.
In retrospect, Schusterman outsmarted one of the savviest and most profitable groups on Wall Street. Although KKR did not invent leveraged buyouts, the firm has over the past two decades earned billions in profits for its limited partners, one of the longest-standing and largest of whom is the Oregon Investment Council, which invests the state's public pension funds.
Oil and gas prices have plunged since KKR bought Samson and this week, the Wall Street Journal reported the company will probably declare bankruptcy next month, wiping out $4.1 billion in equity KKR and its partners invested.
Both Sandberg and Schusterman have contributed to Read's campaigns in the past. Read says he doesn't know Schusterman but is pleased to have her as a contributor.