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Huge money edge for most incumbents

Callahan leads Martwick in campaign cash; Heimuller, Johnson, Witt have outraised, outspent challengers

Jean Marie Martwick.Incumbents running for reelection to the Oregon Legislative Assembly and Board of County Commissioners in Columbia County head into the last days of the campaign sporting big advantages over their opponents in campaign contributions and expenditures.

Sen. Betsy Johnson of Scappoose and Rep. Brad Witt of Clatskanie, the county’s Democratic state legislators, have massively out-fundraised their little-known rivals and maintain a sizable amount of cash on hand. County Commissioner Henry Heimuller has a similar edge in his race.

However, appointed Circuit Judge Jean Marie Martwick trails her opponent, St. Helens-based attorney Cathleen Callahan, in the money race.

As of press time, the Callahan campaign has reported raising $65,947 and spending $60,121, leaving her with $5,826 on hand, including an outstanding $4,000 loan.

In 2014, Martwick’s campaign has brought in $32,349 and spent $31,944. She has $2,404 in her campaign coffers, including about $422 in accounts payable.

Both judicial candidates have largely funded their own campaigns. Callahan has contributed some $49,940 in cash and in-kind spending to her campaign, according to ORESTAR, the state’s campaign finance filing system, while Martwick has spent $26,211 on her campaign. A majority of Martwick’s campaign money was reported as in-kind spending.

Martwick, who was appointed by Gov. John Kitzhaber last fall to replace retiring Judge Steven Reed, won a slim plurality of votes in the May 20 primary election over Callahan for the first position on the Columbia County Circuit Court. Because no candidate won more than 50 percent of the vote, Martwick and Callahan advanced to the Nov. 4 general election.

Cathleen Callahan.Callahan announced her candidacy for judge earlier this year. She has received endorsements from several prominent political figures in Columbia County, including Johnson, Clatskanie Mayor Diane Pohl, Columbia City Mayor Cheryl Young, and Circuit Judge Jenefer Stenzel Grant. She has also received support from several unions, including the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 555, which has given $1,000 to her campaign this year. Her largest campaign contributor is Donna Henderson, who has given $6,332 in cash and in-kind funding.

Martwick’s largest campaign donors include officials in the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office, including Deputy District Attorneys Dale Anderson, who gave $350, and Jenni Jordan, who gave $300. Her campaign also received contributions from past judicial candidates Agnes Petersen, who gave $500, and David B. Herr, who gave $450. Her largest individual donor is businessman Keith Forsythe, who donated $740 to the Martwick campaign.

The third-place finisher in the May primary, Jason Heym, has also endorsed Martwick, as has Reed.

Betsy Johnson.Legislators swamping challengers in cash contest

In the Senate District 16 race, Johnson’s campaign has raised $113,109 this year to just $13,025 brought in by the campaign of challenger Andrew Kaza, running on the Independent and Working Families party lines.

The Johnson campaign has spent $148,338 but still has $141,503 on hand — including $7,275 in accounts payable — due to a positive account balance carried over from previous years.

Kaza has spent $10,740 and has $2,285 in his campaign account, $1,226 of which is in accounts payable.

Along with numerous individual donations, Johnson has received numerous major campaign contributions this year from businesses and industry groups, particularly from insurance companies, pharmacy franchises, physicians’ interest groups, the timber industry and the rock mining industry.

Among Johnson’s largest campaign donors this year are Altria Client Services Inc., a subsidiary of Virginia-based tobacco giant Altria Group Inc., which gave $6,000; the Oregon Forest Industries Council Political Action Committee, the campaign arm of a major timber trade association, which gave $5,000; the Oregon Soft Drink PAC, which funds candidates for office on behalf of the Soft Drink Association, with $5,000 in contributions; Allstate Insurance Co., which gave $5,000; and the Portland General Electric Employee Candidate Assistance Fund, which gave $3,000.

Andrew Kaza.Most of Kaza’s itemized donations were from individuals, a number of whom listed an address outside of Oregon as their primary residence. The largest of these campaign contributions was $3,000 from E. Mutuma Marangu, described as a U.S. citizen living and working in London. Other major donations included $1,000 apiece from Chris Downey, a resident of California; Arthur Goldblatt, a resident of Florida; and $1,000 from Daniel Meek, a Portland attorney.

Like Johnson, Witt has maintained a big lead in the money race over his opponent, Republican Larry Ericksen. In 2014, Witt has raised $118,366, spent $104,005 and has $23,433 on hand, although he has $4,072 in accounts payable.

The Ericksen campaign was reporting a cash balance of just $167 as of press time, although it has $269 in debt. It has raised $6,120 and spent $5,953.

Brad Witt.Witt’s list of major campaign contributions on ORESTAR closely resembles Johnson’s. In addition to backing from businesses and trade groups, the Witt campaign has also received large donations from several labor groups, such as the Plumbers & Steamfitters PAC, which contributed $2,250; the Oregon Council of NECA Chapters, representing the National Electrical Contractors Association, which pitched in $2,500; and Oregon AFSCME Council 75, which gave $3,000.

The Witt campaign has also sent $23,000 this year to Future PAC, the campaign committee of the Oregon House Democrats.

Meanwhile, Ericksen’s largest single donor has been Robert Speirs, a radiologist who lives in Columbia City, who gave $1,375; another $375 was contributed by Konnie Speirs, his wife. Summit Manufacturing Inc., a Hillsboro-based company, donated $1,000, while the Columbia County Republican Central Committee contributed $700.

Larry Ericksen.Both Ericksen and Kaza entered the race late, with Ericksen scoring the Republican nomination in House District 31 as a write-in candidate and Kaza winning the backing of first the Independent Party and then the Working Families Party, minor parties with ballot access in Oregon.

Witt also has the backing of the Working Families Party, while Johnson has been cross-nominated by the Republican Party.

Johnson is regarded as a swing vote in the Oregon Senate, often voting with Republicans instead of with Senate Democrats.

Commissioner campaigns owe money

In the county commissioner’s race, which advanced to November after an unusual primary result saw neither candidate reach an outright majority of the vote due to a small number of write-in votes, both candidates have spent about the same amount as they have raised.

Heimuller has maintained the fundraising advantage he held in May over Scappoose building contractor Wayne Mayo. As of press time, his cash balance on ORESTAR showed a $461 cash balance. Mayo’s campaign, Defend America with Mayo (DAM), reported a $284 deficit.

Henry Heimuller.Both campaigns also hold campaign debt. Heimuller has $11,000 in outstanding loans, while Mayo’s accounts payable is $2,494.

In 2014, the Mayo campaign has taken in $5,975 and spent $6,423. Meanwhile, including the loans, the Heimuller campaign has raised $39,963, and has spent $40,008 this year.

In addition to individual contributions, Heimuller’s campaign has received strong financial support from labor unions, as well as resource extraction companies and railroads. Teevin Bros., a logging and quarrying company based in Rainier, has contributed $1,000, while Oregon AFSCME Council 75 gave $2,500, AFSCME Locals 697 and 1442 pitched in another $1,000, and the Amalgamated Transit Union 757 gave $500.

Heimuller’s campaign also reported major contributions from Portland & Western Railroad Inc., Scappoose Sand & Gravel Co. and executives at Global Partners LP, which operates an oil terminal north of Clatskanie, ahead of the May 20 primary.

Wayne Mayo.Heimuller has also received itemized contributions from prominent local Democrats like Johnson, Witt and County Commissioner Earl Fisher. Although the Board of County Commissioners has since been made officially nonpartisan, Heimuller won his seat in 2010 as a Democrat.

Although Mayo has run for office in the past as an independent candidate, ORESTAR indiciates he has received $200 in campaign contributions from the Columbia County Republican Central Committee this year. His campaign’s largest individual donor is Geneva Burwell of Columbia City, who gave $1,000. Another major contributor is Sunset Auto Parts, a Scappoose business that donated $500 to the Mayo campaign before the primary election.

The campaigns of County Clerk Betty Huser and challenger Brady Preheim have not reported any campaign activity to ORESTAR this year.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include Cathleen Callahan's largest campaign contributor.

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