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Other candidates raise money, but Yamhill author rakes in money from big, national donors

PMG FILE PHOTO - Former New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof of Yamhill has amassed about $1 million for his gubernatorial campaign.

By Gary Warner

Oregon Capital Bureau

Yamhill native and former New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof has reported more than $1 million in contributions for his bid for Oregon governor.

The report filed exactly one year before the Nov. 8, 2022, general election catapulted Kristof to the front of the race for campaign dollars.

Kristof's "Nick for Oregon" committee raised $1,010,999 from contributions dating to Oct. 15, though he did not announce he was running until Oct. 27. The campaign reported no expenditures. Under state law, candidates have up to 30 days to report money raised or spent.

Kristof showcased his national reach, with 26 of the 29 largest donations of $10,000 or more coming from out of state. In all, more than 400 of the individual contributions came from outside of Oregon.

The campaign's announcement of the fundraising total focused on in-state money given to Kristof. It noted 2,522 Oregonians in 35 of 36 Oregon counties contributing.

"I am so grateful for this outpouring of support from all over Oregon," Kristof said. "It's clear: people from every corner of this state are ready for new leadership."

Kristof's best-known and financed Democratic opponents for governor are House Speaker Tina Kotek of Portland and Treasurer Tobias Read.

As of Nov. 15, Kotek reported $414,103 in contributions. When added to money she has from her 2020 re-election campaign, she reports $456,887 in current funds. Read has reported raising $485,886 and has a cash balance of $328,163.

Among Republicans, 2016 governor candidate Bud Pierce of Salem has reported raising the most money. The Salem oncologist took in $748,040 this year, including $340,000 of his own money. He reports $203,529 in the bank.

Sen. Betsy Johnson, D-Scappoose, has announced she will run as an independent. She has to submit 23,750 valid signatures to go directly to the November ballot. Johnson reports raising $65,850 this year and has $522,605 in the bank from previous campaigns. Read, Kotek, Johnson, Pierce and several other candidates have been actively fundraising this year.

As of Nov. 15, 17 candidates have filed to run in the May 17 primary. Pierce is the only one of the top fundraisers to have officially turned in the paperwork to run. Candidates have until March 8 to file. A separate filing allows a candidate to raise and spend money by registering a new campaign finance committee with the secretary of state or amending an existing one.

As of Nov. 15, 23 candidates have active fundraising committees registered for the 2022 governor's race.

Kristof's report was topped by a trio of $50,000 contributions from out of state:

• Melinda French Gates of Kirkland, Washington, philanthropist and the ex-wife of Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

• David Cohen, a Charlotte, N.C., a venture capitalist, former Goldman Sachs executive, owner of Simcah investment fund and co-founder of Enza Capital.

• Thomas Bernthal, the Los Angeles chief executive officer of Kelton Global, a strategic marketing firm.

The three Oregonians giving $10,000 were:

• Glen Van Peski, chairman of Gossamer Gear in Bend.

• Douglas Tunnell, owner of Brick House Vineyard near Newberg.

• Audra King, Eugene, who is associated with Justin King, the national sales director of his family's winery, King Estates.

Among those contributing at least $10,000 was the trust of actress Angelina Jolie, of Los Angeles.

The 2018 campaign for governor set a state record with incumbent Gov. Kate Brown and challenger Knute Buehler, R-Bend, raising just under $40 million in direct contributions to their campaigns.

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