Guv Watch

Switch Hitters

By Bart Blasengame May 17, 2010 Published in the June 2010 issue of Portland Monthly

WE WEREN’T the only Oregonians who had no idea which way May’s gubernatorial primary vote might swing. Our excuse: an early print deadline. But we suspect that certain campaign donors were simply hedging their bets. A few high-profile wafflers in particular caught our eye.

For the Republicans, Tim Phillips, a wealth manager and specialist in behavioral economics, led the pack, putting $5,000 down on both front-runners, Chris Dudley and Allen Alley. In the Dems’ camp, the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians put $10,000 on Bill Bradbury, but lobbed $5,000 to John Kitzhaber. Ecotrust founder Spencer Beebe also leaned toward Bradbury, giving him $1,200 while gifting only $500 to Kitzhaber.

Nike, the company, gave $20,000 to Kitzhaber while Nike, the man (Phil Knight), blew two $50,000 kisses to Dudley. Astrologers, take note: the Oregon Health Care Association (the senior care trade association) gave $50,000 to Dudley on April 8 and $50,000 to Kitzhaber on April 9.

One bunch that didn’t waffle? Dudley’s former co-workers. Ex-Blazers Clyde Drexler and Terry Porter, plus NBA league commissioner David Stern, backed Dudley, but for only $8,500 combined. Renowned sports agent Dan Fegan, on the other hand, busted a piggy bank for a $100,000 gift. Of course, given that he reps many vertically gifted, skill-challenged current NBA players, maybe it was out of habit.

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