PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — One of the leading candidates for governor in Oregon is pledging to make campaign contribution limits a priority if elected.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tina Kotek told KOIN 6 News that she’s concerned about large contributions — like the million-dollar ones given to her chief opponents by Nike founder Phil Knight.
All three of the gubernatorial candidates have millions of dollars from special interest groups in their coffers, along with money from individual donors.
Oregon currently has no limits on political donations. Voters passed Measure 107 in 2020 to let the legislature and local governments make laws to limit campaign contributions. However, the measure has been tied up in court challenges since.
Kotek says she will put the issue at the top of her to-do list if elected.
Meanwhile, Knight has given nearly $4 million to unaffiliated gubernatorial candidate Betsey Johnson and more recently donated $1 million to Republican Christine Drazen’s campaign.
“One billionaire, just one guy, has spent close to $7 million to buy the governor’s seat,” Kotek said.
Clearly, Knight is not a supporter of Kotek’s bid for governor.
When asked if she would accept a million-dollar check herself, Kotek said, “Right now, I believe it’s important to be able to win this race and compete with close to $7 million that Phil Knight has put into this race. So no, I would not say no to that contribution because those are the rules of the game right now — but those rules should change.”
Kotek has raised millions for her campaign from political action committees and political organizations like her opponents, but says Knight’s money could affect the outcome:
Drazan’s campaign says she is honored to have Knight’s support and that Drazan “has long said she would support a campaign finance system that maintains an equal playing field between all candidates,” something they say “recent legislative proposals” have failed to do.
Johnson also said she is proud to have Knight’s support, highlighting the “world class business” he’s built.