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Drug Companies Give to Brown While Cambia Backs Buehler

In the campaign for governor, Rep. Knute Buehler has outraised the sitting governor slightly for the year, reporting contributions of $2 million to Kate Brown’s $1.9 million. But she’s burnt through $1.2 million while he has limited expenses to $550,000.
December 1, 2017

Pharmaceutical companies are coming through for Gov. Kate Brown in the money race for next year’s governor’s election, with seven companies led by Pfizer contributing $1,000 apiece or more.

Pfizer gave Brown’s campaign $10,000 directly, plus an additional $5,000 from its political action committee. Other companies, including Amgen and Johnson & Johnson, gave her $2,500 each.

The pharmaceutical industry’s contributions are small compared to the money given by the organizations contracted to manage the state’s Medicaid programs. As The Lund Report reported earlier this fall, these groups have given her $60,000, led by the Coalition for a Healthy Oregon, and they are among the biggest donors for Brown, who has reported $1.9 million in contributions since the start of the year. Her campaign has spent $1.2 million this year, well more than half that total.

Brown received small contributions from about 80 percent of her donors, or 2,400 individuals, each giving under $1,000. Many of her recent big-money donations have come from wealthy out-of-state individuals, led by Seattle venture capitalist Nicholas Hanauer, who gave $27,500, and Hollywood producer Dean Devlin, who gave $25,000.

She also received $45,000 from Pat Stryker and Jon Stryker, brother-and-sister billionaire heirs to the Stryker Corporation medical device manufacturing fortune.

Additionally, Brown has received $19,700 from the Democratic Governors Association and $25,000 from Emily’s List, which supports female candidates who support abortion rights.

Her chief opponent, Republican Rep. Knute Buehler of Bend, has reported just shy of $2 million in campaign contributions this year. He has spent about $550,000 of that. And while a whopping gift of $500,000 from Nike tycoon Phil Knight made headlines, Buehler has about 1,500 donors or also roughly 80 percent who gave less than $1,000.

One of Buehler’s chief campaign donors is Cambia Health Solutions, which has given him $15,000. The parent company of Regence BlueCross BlueShield is one of the rare healthcare companies that has chosen to oppose Brown, and it has a long history of funding Republican candidates, many of them to no avail.

Many of Buehler’s big-money backers come from the home construction and development sector, a sign of Democrats’ seeming inability to do anything about the state’s housing crisis, where supply has not been able to keep up with demand, driving up rents and housing prices. Hayden Homes has given him $50,000, while West Linn developer Dan Harmon gave $25,000.

Buehler has also accepted large campaign contributions from the timber industry, including $30,000 apiece from Roseburg Forest Products and Lone Rock Timber Company, as well as $25,200 from John Shelk of Ochoco Lumber. He received $50,000 from James Young, the founder of Entek, an industrial manufacturer, and $50,000 from Thomas Cook, a Vancouver businessman and owner of Pacific Bells, a Taco Bell franchise.

Also backing the Republican candidate for governor are Grace Bio-Labs, a pharmaceutical research company in Bend, which donated $10,000, and Dentists of Oregon PAC, the campaign arm of the Oregon Dental Association, which gave $3,000.

Reach Chris Gray at [email protected].