With less than a week to go before Lake Oswego voters choose their next city councilors, state records show that the seven candidates for three open seats have collectively raised almost $114,000 in cash and in-kind contributions.
That's not to say the candidates are doing anything wrong — it takes a lot of time, money and effort to run a successful campaign for public office at any level. But it does speak to the competitiveness of a race that features the largest and most diverse slate of candidates in the city's history.
"Today's voters get their information from a whole variety of sources, and candidates have to tap into those sources to reach voters," former School Board Chair John Wendland said this week. "Brochures to hand out at the door, lawn signs, mail pieces and postage, newspaper ads, digital ads, Facebook ads — all have a cost."
Oregon is one of the few states where campaign finance law allows unlimited contributions to political candidates. The state does require those contributions to be cataloged and available for the public to view, however, through ORESTAR — the online filing system maintained by the Secretary of State's office.
And according to ORESTAR, candidates for the Lake Oswego City Council had received contributions from more than 200 different individuals, businesses and political action committees as of Wednesday, ranging in size from less than $10 to more than $5,000.
Leading the finance race: Wendland, who has raised $41,811. His biggest donors include philanthropist Erika Miller, who gave $5,000 to his campaign, and Lake Oswego residents Mark Ryan and Timothy Crew, who each contributed $2,500. Also of note: Wendland is the only candidate to receive financial support from Mayor Kent Studebaker, who contributed $500, according to ORESTAR.
"I am honored," Wendland told The Review, "to have so many bipartisan contributors, endorsers, friends and volunteers in my race."
The rest of the pack trails far behind Wendland, according to ORESTAR.
Small-business owner Daniel Nguyen had raised $29,124 through Wednesday, including donations from City Councilors Joe Buck ($150) and John LaMotte ($250), former City Councilor Jon Gustafson ($250) and Metro President-elect Lynn Peterson ($101).
Nguyen also received a $1,500 contribution from Local 1159 of the Professional Firefighters of Clackamas County, as well as $2,000 from Clackamas-based QB Fabrication and Welding.
Former Planning Commission Chair Randy Arthur has raised $19,187, though much of that total came from two personal loans — totalling $14,000 — that Arthur has used to self-fund his campaign. Other donations include $250 each from LaMotte and a local political action committee called Oregon First, which lists Lake Oswego attorney Peter Glazer among its officers.
Arthur expressed a "deep appreciation" this week for the support he's received, telling The Review that "running for election to public office is an experience unlike any other."
Massene Mboup, founder and executive director of the International Leadership Academy, has raised $13,963 to date, mostly in small, miscellaneous cash contributions. Among those supporting Mboup financially: state Sen. Rob Wagner ($250), realtor Mike Hasson ($250), LO for LOve founder Amy Waterbury ($87) and Buck ($200). Mboup also received $1,500 from the local firefighters union.
"I am overwhemed by the support I have received from folks, some I never even met," Mboup said this week. "I am very grateful and proud to run for office in such a great city."
Contributions to Emma Burke, a member of the Lake Oswego School District's Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee, total $5,744, according to ORESTAR. Burke's financial supporters include Clackamas County Commissioners Sonya Fischer ($102) and Martha Schrader ($450), as well as the local firefighters union ($500) and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 555 ($129).
"My cash contributions average less than $100 each," Burke said, "and this speaks to my campaign principals about representing all voices in our community and spending time engaging with the constituents, not dialing for dollars from potential high donors."
Incumbent Councilor Jackie Manz's campaign had raised $4,097 as of Wednesday, with contributions that include $125 from Buck and $250 from LaMotte. She has also received support from Clackamas County Commissioners Fischer ($102) and Schrader ($150), and from Lake Oswego's waste disposal contractor, Republic Services Inc. ($300).
"Fundraising is the bane of a candidate's existence," Manz said. "I've yet to meet a candidate of any stripe who says, 'Hurrah! Time to fundraise!' That said, I am always humbled by people's generosity and belief in my ability to lead our city. To everyone who has contributed, thank you."
Donald Mattersdorff hasn't sought out contributions of any size, according to ORESTAR. As of Wednesday, state records for the former Hallinan Heights Neighborhood Association chair's campaign were blank.
"My campaign is self-funded," he told The Review. "I have not accepted a single penny of campaign donations, although numerous people have offered."
Also of interest
• In the race for Metro Council District 2, Lake Oswego City Councilor Joe Buck has raised $130,765. That's way ahead of Christine Lewis, the legislative director for the state Bureau of Labor and Industries, who had raised $49,728 through Wednesday.
• Democrat Rob Wagner, who is also a member of the Lake Oswego School Board, had banked $156,107 through Wednesday in his race for a full term in Senate District 19, including more than $30,000 from public sector and trade unions. On the other hand, Republican candidate David Poulson had raised just $19,843, including $5,500 from the Republican Party and $5,000 from Unitus Community Credit Union.
For more information about all of the candidates' campaign finances, go to sos.oregon.gov/elections/Pages/campaignfinance.aspx.
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