National Pro-Choice Group Donates $500,000 To Oregon Gov. Kate Brown

By Dirk VanderHart (OPB)
Aug. 28, 2018 9:40 p.m.

In emails to supporters, Gov. Kate Brown’s campaign has lambasted her Republican opponent for accepting “big checks.” But Brown just accepted a whopper.

According to her most recent campaign filing disclosures, Brown received a $500,000 contribution from Emily’s List on Aug. 10. The Washington, D.C-based political action committee supports candidates who are Democratic, pro-choice women. The PAC gave an additional $25,000 to Brown last year.


The influx, reported this week, comes almost exactly a year after Buehler secured a check in the same amount from Nike co-founder Phil Knight. It adds to what has been a hefty funding imbalance between the candidates. As of the most recent reporting, Brown has nearly $4 million more on hand than Buehler, who was forced to spend money to fend off challengers during the May primary.

Buehler, however, has been aided by ads funded by an outside group called Priority Oregon, which has attacked Brown’s record.

The Emily’s List contribution is by far the largest single contribution Brown has received. The second-largest was a $250,000 contribution from former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, during Brown’s 2016 campaign to finish the term of former Gov. John Kitzhaber.


The Emily's List website shows Brown is one of nine gubernatorial candidates the PAC is supporting this election cycle, calling her "a progressive leader with the experience to move Oregon forward."

“Kate is one of only two Democratic women governors in the country, and her record as a progressive leader makes her seat a top target for Republican takeover this cycle,” the site says.

Emily’s List isn’t the only notable contribution Brown reported recently. Despite its co-founder’s apparent preference for Buehler, Nike on Aug. 22 gave the governor’s campaign $25,000. It contributed an additional $10,000 in February.

Earlier this year Brown helped to broker a deal between Nike and two labor unions, in which a union-backed initiative petition was withdrawn after Nike and other large corporations opposed it. In exchange, Nike committed to opposing two anti-tax ballot measures, Measures 103 and 104.

Recent polls, while considered suspect by some, suggest this year's gubernatorial race is currently close. National prognosticators at the Cook Political Report and Sabato's Crystal Ball have relied in part on those polls to move their classification of the race from "Likely Democratic" to "Leans Democratic."

Asked recently whether that concerned her, Brown said she wasn't worried, citing past elections.

“Gov. Kitzhaber won with less than 50 percent of the vote in both of his elections ... and I think you recall that [Republican] Dennis Richardson won the Secretary of State’s race in 2016,” she said in a conference call with reporters. “I know that Oregon has a totally blue reputation, but that has never been my reality in public service. Of the years I spent in the Legislature, I served 14 years in the minority.”