Columbia County candidates raise thousands
For some candidates in this year's local elections, campaign contributions came in high-dollar amounts from businesses, political action committees or unions.
In the race for Columbia County's Board of Commissioners, contributions of $100 or less have accounted for less than half of the total amounts raised — although for some, those small-dollar donations have been a larger factor than for others.
As of Oct. 26, Brandee Dudzic, a candidate for Position 1, had racked up $38,142 in campaign contributions. Incumbent Margaret Magruder had $34,647 by the same date.
Position 3 candidate Casey Garrett had brought in $32,113 by Oct. 26, while opponent Alex Tardif had collected the least of the four candidates: $22,259.
Dudzic brought in 39% of her campaign cash through donations of $100 or less.
For her opponent, Magruder, similar small donations accounted for 13% of the campaign's cash.
Garrett received small donations accounting for 12% of his campaign cash, compared to 30% for Tardif.
For all the candidates, high-dollar contributions came from the candidate themself or their family members.
Magruder received multiple donations from the Natural Gas Political Action Committee this year, totaling $1,000. Global Partners, which owns the Columbia Pacific Bio-Refinery in Clatskanie, donated $1,500, and the cement producer CalPortland contributed $1,000.
Magruder also received multiple cash and in-kind donations from state Sen. Betsy Johnson, D-Scappoose, totaling $2,666.
The Timber Unity political action committee contributed nearly $3,000 each to Magruder and Garrett's campaigns through cash, newspaper advertisements and inclusion in a mailer sent by the PAC.
Magruder and Garrett both received funding from the Save Columbia County Jobs PAC, which was formed in 2015 to oppose a county ballot measure to increase the county's natural resources depletion fee.
The two also received donations from Scott T. Parker, owner of Scappoose Sand and Gravel.
Garrett also received just under $4,000 from the county's Republican Central Committee and almost $3,000 from Jeff Kemp, owner of Pacific Stainless Products.
Dudzic and Tardif both received donations and endorsements from the union that represents many county employees, AFSCME Council 75. Dudzic received $2,000 between the AFSCME Local 1442, representing courthouse employees, and the regional Council 75.
Dudzic's biggest individual donors included Port of Columbia County Commissioner Nancy Ward, former Columbia County public information officer Karen Kane and local attorney Paul Aubry.
Tardif received funds from Martha Schrader's reelection campaign. Schrader, a current Clackamas County commissioner, won re-election in the May 2020 primary. Tyler Miller, a candidate for Scappoose City Council, and Jeff Auxier, Columbia County district attorney, both donated to Tardif's campaign.
As of Oct. 26, Magruder had reported expenses totalling slightly more than $30,000, just over $1,000 short of her contributions. Dudzic had nearly $7,500 left after spending more than $28,000.
In the Position 3 race, Tardif and Garrett had both spent more than they had raised for this election cycle. Tardif had spent $1,300 more than he raised since early 2019, but he started this election cycle with funds leftover from his last campaign. Garrett's spending exceeded donations by $3,700, but he had taken out a loan for $5,000.
Read about contributions to the candidates for Columbia County Circuit Court here.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.