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Oregon Election Finances Need Some Reform

December 17, 2018

I have been adding up all of the campaigns in Oregon, House, Senate and Governor’s races. There are a couple of ways you can do this yourself (should you want to spend hours down the “rabbit trail”) so I’ll link my sources to what I’m going to reveal here.

By the November election in Oregon, candidates from all parties for all Legislative and Governor races spent: $61,643,745. That’s nearly SIXTY TWO MILLION DOLLARS!

That’s not money raised by the way, that’s money spent. There was far more raised.  And of course that is ONLY that money spent by the candidates themselves, it does not count third party PAC money or “other” sources of campaign expenditures.

I am appalled at this. Legislators get paid about $2000 a month. The Governor gets about $97,000 a year.  The members of the House spent on average: $266,667 to get that $24,000 a year job. Senate members spent about $287,230 to get the same paying job.  Of course the 2 final Governor candidates spent over $37,000,000 for that job averaging over $18,000,000 each.  (As I wrote, you can research this for yourself HERE at the Orestar site or HERE at a cumulative site by PAC-West)

Why do I bring this up? This means we must do something different. I am not calling for “campaign finance reform” as some have called for. I don’t care if a candidate can raise a hundred million dollars. What I would like to see is “expenditure limits”. Now I’m not naive, I know that third party PAC’s will continue to spend on the candidate of their choice, but surely our Secretary of State can keep an eye on that?  I believe that $100,000 is a sufficient amount for any House or Senate campaign to run on and $1,000,000 is plenty for the Governor’s race. 

I know someone will ask “what about Portland/Eugene/other bigger market candidates ability to buy television?” I say let’s go back to winning these “citizen legislator” races the old fashioned way: shoe leather! The amounts I propose would limit the money spent to maybe a couple of mail pieces, a few radio/newspaper ads and maybe more for digital ads. TV would be out.

There is NO reason on Earth why we should be spending over $61 MILLION for these positions.  It must stop. I am open to clear, concise and honest opinion on this. I am calling for “Campaign expenditure limits” and I want it done in time for 2020.  I don’t know about you, but I can think of a LOT of other GREAT ways to use $61 million to help a lot of folks that are hurting in our state. Can’t you?

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