As of Friday, October 14, 2016
Rep. Mark Johnson (R-Hood River) has gathered more campaign funds than his competitor, Odell Democrat Mark Reynolds, in the hotly contested Oregon House District 52 race.
The district spans from Hood River to eastern Gresham, where Johnson has held the post since 2010.
Johnson will face off against Reynolds, a former teacher and relative newcomer to state government, at the Nov. 8 general election.
As of Friday, Johnson’s campaign has received $445,467 in cash contributions and $139,486 in-kind contributions, versus Reynolds’ $67,966 cash contributions and $68,832 in-kind contributions, according to filings listed for 2016 on the ORESTAR campaign finance databased managed by the Oregon Secretary of State’s office.
Nike co-founder Phil Knight contributed $80,000 to Johnson’s campaign in early October, filings show.
That donation constituted Johnson’s largest single cash contribution. Some of the next biggest sums came from Oregon Victory PAC and Stand for Children PAC.
“I’m honored to have the support,” Johnson said of Knight’s contribution.
Johnson said he hasn’t had direct contact with the Nike magnate, but explained, “He’s always been a strong supporter of public education.”
Johnson described his array of contributors as “broad support,” coming from various business and education sectors, which he considered “reflective of how I engage on issues and try to work collaboratively.”
The Oregonian/OregonLive reported that Knight has given $380,000 in total to Republican state legislative candidates.
Knight also helped fund Johnson’s initial campaign in 2010 against Rep. Suzanne VanOrman (D-Hood River), according to an Oct. 30, 2010, article in the Hood River News. That contribution was $15,000, the News reported.
Reynolds’ top cash contributors include Oregon Education Association and Future PAC, House Builders. Oregon Trial Lawyers also contributed to the campaign.
“I have a lot of labor support … I think for the same reason a lot of ordinary people are contributing,” Reynolds said.
On unions, he explained, “I support the principles of collective labor.”
Reynolds highlighted the assorted small contributions he has received and said his campaign has become “creative,” to address the lack of large contributions coming from “out of district,” he termed, referring to his opponent’s campaign.
Reynolds, a retired Hood River and Cascade Locks teacher, has served on local boards including Wasco County Commission on Children and Families, and the Migrant Education Committee of Practitioners.
Johnson, a contractor and longtime Hood River County School District board member, has served on Oregon’s House Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee, Revenue Committee and Joint Committee on Tax Credits. He also served as vice chair of the Energy and Environment Committee.
Voters will have a choice between the two candidates on Nov. 8.