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West Linn mayor has raised around $25,000 since May's primary, compared to Estep's $7,000

PMG PHOTOS: JONATHAN HOUSE - Jules Walters and Aeric Estep are running for House District 37. Just three months before the November election, the gulf in funding between the two candidates for House District 37 is widening.

West Linn Mayor Jules Walters, a Democrat, and Republican Aeric Estep both hope to replace Rep. Rachel Prusak, D-West Linn, who announced in the spring that she would not seek reelection. House District 37 covers West Linn, Tualatin and parts of River Grove, Durham and Stafford.

Since the May primary, Walters' campaign has received over $25,000 in cash contributions, including $1,000 from the campaign of lame-duck Congressman Kurt Schrader, who lost the Democratic primary for Oregon's 5th Congressional District in May, and $10,000 from United Food and Commercial Workers Federal PAC.

Since the primary, Estep has received a comparatively small $7,620, with the largest contribution of $2,500 coming from Oregon House Minority Leader Vikki Breese Iverson. According to data reported to the Oregon Secretary of State's Office, which tracks donations and expenses of campaigns and political action committees across the state, the most recent donation to Estep was over a month ago on July 10. Estep said he had received "grassroots" donations more recently and they will be reported soon.

Other contributors to Walters' campaign include her fellow member of the West Linn City Council, Todd Jones, as well as the fundraising arms of the campaigns for fellow Democrats including Oregon Senate Majority Leader Rob Wagner, D-Lake Oswego, and Rep. Rob Nosse, D-Portland.

After the donation from the United Food and Commercial Workers Federal PAC, the next largest contributions to Walters' campaign were $2,500 from a relative in Long Beach and $2,000 from the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association PAC.

Estep also received $200 from fellow West Linn Republican Bridget Barton, who came in third in her bid to be the GOP's nominee for governor.

Estep said he was unbothered by the discrepancy in funding between his campaign and that of Walters.

"A lot of that (money donated to Walters) is from big common players that normally fund those races. Mine is all grassroots stuff and that shows that people, in my view, want change," Estep said.

Since the primary, political groups and campaigns for other candidates have donated $15,000 to Walters. However, Walters noted many of her donations come from individual residents within the district. Over half the cash donations, she added, were for $100 or less.

When asked about the large donation from the United Food and Commercial Workers Federal PAC, as well as backing from other groups like the Oregon League of Conservation Voters, Pro-Choice Oregon and Planned Parenthood, NW Carpenters Union, AFT-Oregon and the Women's Investment Network, Walters cited the shared values of protecting women's and workers' rights.

"The money I have received from UFCW is similar to funding from any labor organization," Walters said. "It's the small contributions that their members pool together to help elect candidates like me who are committed to supporting our frontline workers."

Though both ran unopposed in their primaries, Walters received just over 7,000 votes compared to Estep's 3,900.

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