Upper Left Coast

Thoughts on politics, faith, sports and other random topics from a red state sympathizer in indigo-blue Portland, Oregon.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The source of that Oregon campaign money

The people who want to be our next president reported a couple of weeks ago on their campaign hauls through June 30, and the surprise winner in Oregon (surprising to me, at least) was Republican Mitt Romney, who pulled in nearly a third of a million dollars from the Beaver state.

The most surprising thing, however, was not just that Romney pulled in the most money; the real surprise was that he had 56 percent more than runner-up John Edwards, and almost as much as Edwards and Hillary Clinton combined ($326,610 for Romney vs. $208,447 for Edwards and $126,888 for Clinton). Also surprising was the fact that the Republicans, despite being out-raised nationwide by 50 percent, slightly out-did the Democrats in Oregon.

So that got me wondering where Romney's Oregon money is coming from. And just for good measure, I looked at Edwards' money as well.

(I should note that, while I got all this information from the cool New York Times database, my numbers may be slightly different than those of the Times because of errors I found in the Times' database. For instance, the Times listed some California donors under an Oregon Zip code. Also, when I refer to a "donor," that could mean multiple donations from the same person. If Joe Smith made five different donations of $100 each, I would count that as one donor contributing $500.)

One of the first things I found interesting was that Romney pulled in more money from Multnomah County than did Edwards -- almost 20 percent more. Of course, the Democrats as a whole did what you'd expect in Multnomah County: they raised 36 percent more for their candidates than did the Republicans. Still, considering Multnomah County is home to 2.4 registered Democrats for every registered Republican, this remains notable.

Another interesting -- though predictable -- aspect was the source of the money. Virtually all of Edwards' money came from west of the Cascades, while Romney's cash was more scattered around the state.

Also, if you look at the percentage of the haul that came from each county, and compare that to each county's percentage of the state population, very few counties donated proportionately. For Edwards, only Multnomah, Clackamas and Clatsop counties gave more than their population percentage. For Romney, Multnomah, Clackamas, Washington, Deschutes and Umatilla exceeded their populations. (It would be interesting to do some sort of comparison to per capita income, but -- truth be told -- I've already put in too much effort on this project.)

One of the things that became glaringly obvious was the number of big donors in each camp. As should be obvious by comparing the number of donors to the total haul, the typical Edwards donor was making smaller contributions than the typical Romney donor.

There are certainly plenty of examples of large donations to the Edwards camp -- among them:
  • $7,400 from David & Christine Vernier of Portland;
  • $4,600 from Mark and Sheri Bocci of Lake Oswego;
  • $3,100 from State Rep. Mitch Greenlick and his wife Harriet.
  • $2,800 from Terri Naito, a policy advisor to Multnomah County Commissioner Lisa Naito;
  • $2,300 from Columbia Sportswear's Peter Bragdon, the former chief of staff to Gov. Ted Kulongoski;
  • $2,300 from Portland developer Homer Williams;
  • $1,656 from Mandate Media's Kari Chisholm (or, as the Times' database calls it, "Madnate Media"); and,
  • $1,000 from Lynn Lundquist, the former Republican (!) Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives.
But a typical example is Lorre Lewis of North Bend, who made three separate donations of $20 each, plus another for $19.53. Or Priscilla Oien of Tualatin, who made 10 separate donations of $100 each.

Romney, meanwhile, was supported by a variety of business, legal and investment heavyweights, including:
  • Rod Wendt of Jeld-Wen, who combined with his wife to give $4,600;
  • Kevin Mannix, who gave the same amount with his wife;
  • Peter & Julie Stott of Crown Pacific, $4,600;
  • Tim & Mary Boyle of Columbia Sportswear, $4,600;
  • Frederick & Gail Jubitz, $4,600
  • Ron Saxton of Ater Wynne, who gave $2,100 (his wife Lynne gave another $500 through the Christie School);
  • H. Gerald Bidwell, $2,000; and,
  • Richard Reiten, the retired Northwest Natural exec, $1,500.
I know it takes money to run a campaign, but I think this feeds into an achilles heel of the Republicans: the perception that the GOP is controlled by big-money interests. Should Fred Thompson decide to get into the race, however, I think you'll find that many of his supporters will be more similar to the $80 Edwards supporter I mentioned above.

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  • At 7/26/2007 1:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 7/26/2007 4:21 PM, Blogger Ken said…

    Dear anonymous,

    You'll get no love for Ann Coulter here, but that post had absolutely zero to do with the topic you posted it on. That's why I deleted it.

  • At 7/28/2007 10:16 PM, Blogger terrance said…

    Very interesting. Thanks for taking the time to do this analysis, Ken.

  • At 8/04/2007 9:35 PM, Anonymous Minimum Wage said…

    I wasn't surprised by the Romney numbers, other than to suggest that so much money is in Republican hands that Republicans seem to be underperforming in the donation department relative to their income and wealth.

  • At 8/09/2007 6:44 PM, Anonymous HMIL said…

    I honestly don't get where people think average ordinary everyday Republicans are so rich. I've never been rich, and I don't expect ever to be rich. That assumption is as stupid as assuming that *all* liberals are welfare-grubbing potheads.

    Now, the assumption that all liberals are whiny and want everyone else's money for their own pet projects ... yeah, I think that one sticks!


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