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Public employee unions contribute 75% to Happy Valley senator, shunning the others.

Shemia Fagan has raised as much as her Democratic rivals combined for Oregon secretary of state this year despite her getting into the race less than two weeks before the filing deadline.

The difference? Public employee unions, whose political action committees contributed 75% of the $300,000 she has collected as of Monday, May 4.

Her Democratic opponents, who got into the race last year, have raised about $300,000 together during this year. Mark Hass collected a little more, and Jamie McLeod-Skinner a little less, than $150,000.

The primary is Tuesday, May 19.

According to reports filed with the state Elections Division, Fagan collected $100,275 from the Oregon Education Association, $95,275 from the political action committee of Service Employees International Union 503, which represents the largest group of state government workers, and $30,000 from Council 75 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Noncash contributions are counted.

Other union contributions to Fagan: $15,000 from the Plumbers and Steamfitters Union, and $5,000 each from Local 49 of SEIU (based in Portland) and the Sheet Metal Workers union.

Fagan, a state senator from Happy Valley, was one of just five Democrats in the Senate to vote against a 2019 bill paring some public-pension benefits. Hass, a state senator from Beaverton, voted for it. Public employee unions have vowed not to support any Democrat who voted for Senate Bill 1049, which became law, though parts of it are being challenged in court.

Hass and McLeod-Skinner, however, have spent more than Fagan this year — although Fagan has more cash on hand. Hass carried over $200,000 from fundraising in 2019, and McLeod-Skinner, just under $50,000 from her 2018 bid for the 2nd District congressional seat. McLeod-Skinner, who lives in Terrebonne, has held elected office — eight years on the city council in Santa Clara, Calif., and currently on the Jefferson County Education Service District board — but has no legislative connections for fundraising.

Hass has spent more than $265,000 and McLeod-Skinner almost $200,000. Among Hass's contributors are Richard Roy, co-director of the Center for Earth Leadership, $25,000, and the Papé Group of Eugene, $15,000. McLeod-Skinner said she is relying on small contributions and isn't accept corporate contributions.

Fagan received the union backing that would have gone to Jennifer Williamson of Portland, who gave up her seat in the Oregon House and her position as majority leader to make the race. Williamson dropped her campaign before the March 10 filing deadline as news disclosures raised questions about spending in her previous campaigns.

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