EDITOR'S NOTE: As the 2014 campaign comes down to the finish line it's very predictable that each campaign be it for a candidate or ballot measure comes down to the so-called money game. And in Oregon this year big money from outside Oregon is flooding the state. If one feels that money distorts the political process - which it does - this is bad news! But if you feel "money is speech" then the more $$$ - the more speech you get.
The folks at OUR OREGON, a liberal activist group are following the money game - here's some highlights from today's Our Oregon e-blast.
"Control of the Oregon Senate is up for grabs, but donors are overwhelmingly flooding Bend’s House race with cash in the homestretch of the November general election. Republican candidate Knute Buehler has raised more campaign cash than anyone else in any House or Senate race in the state, according to The Bulletin’s review of campaign finance records on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Republicans are eyeing the chance to take the Senate, where Democrats held 16 seats and Republicans had 14 last session. The Senate races identified by both parties’ leaders months ago as contentious are among the most expensive in the state in terms of campaign fundraising. They will also likely break the million-dollar mark in coming days.
RAD: Back in the '90s legislative races cost $100 to 250K not anymore! Who is flooding the campaign coffers? Not individual donors but the "big daddy" pro-business PACs and pro-union PACs in the state and well beyond Oregon. Thanks to Citizens United the money game is the elephant in the room. With soft money that is undisclosed and unlimited interest group PACs not the candidates dominate the messaging.
"The Center for Public Integrity is out with a report that shows Oregon’s (and to a lesser degree Washington’s) ballot initiatives are attracting big outside money. Ballot measures in only two states – California and Colorado – are attracting more money, according to the report. The report looks at TV ad spending through Oct. 20 and found that nationwide about $119 million has been spent so far on state ballot initiates.
In Oregon, $7.6 million has so far been spent, which according to the report breaks down to $2.68 per eligible voter. Oregon’s Measure 92 has received the most ad spending. CPI reporter Liz Essley Whyte writes:"
RAD: Measure 92, the GMO measure is a major turf battle being waged by agri-business and their retail grocery allies against an equally well moneyed organic food industry located in California. This will probably break previous records. But ironically one side will win and the other will lose - so does "big money" speak? It may be a necessary but it's not a sufficient condition in ballot measure mania. The key will be which side can get out the vote!
"The final numbers are in: More voters are registered for the Nov. 4 general election than in any other nonpresidential election in Oregon history. Now it’s a question of who will turn out. In the two weeks leading to the Oct. 14 voter registration deadline, Democrats added more voters than Republicans. There are 832,814 Democrats eligible to vote this year versus 658,107 Republicans. The state also has more voters registered to neither major party than it has in its history."
RAD: This has to be good news for the Democrats who want to keep control of the legislature. Kitz has a lock on the governor's race despite "Kitz's follies." If up registration means bigger turnout for the D's, this should give the Ds wind at their backs. But in the May primary in Washington County over 6,000 Ds did not show. And with the top of the ticket having "image" issues - will this turn off likely D voters? Off year elections usually favor the party out of power, in this case the GOP.