PORTLAND, Ore — Oregon gubernatorial candidate Nicholas Kristof released his first campaign finance report on Monday, detailing a significant influx of cash that catapulted him to the top of the pack in terms of money raised so far in the race, with just over $1 million in cash on hand according to Oregon Secretary of State records.
“I’m not sure that I’ve seen a governor’s race raise quite so much money this quickly,” said KGW analyst Len Bergstein.
Kristof is one of eight Democrats who have filed with the Oregon Secretary of State’s office to run for governor next year, along with 12 Republicans, one Independent and two unaffiliated candidates. Term limits prevent current Gov. Kate Brown from running in 2022.
The Kristof campaign report includes a handful of prominent names and a significant amount money from out-of-state donors. Kristof grew up in Yamhill County and owns property there, but he built a national profile during his 37-year career as a reporter and columnist for The New York Times. He left the paper earlier this year and formally announced his run for governor on Oct. 27.
Philanthropist Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was one of Kristof’s top three donors, each of whom contributed $50,000. The Angelina Jolie family trust also appeared on the list as a $10,000 donor.
As of Monday, Oregon Secretary of State records included 396 Kristof donors whose contributions were large enough to be listed individually, 173 of whom had listed addresses in Oregon and collectively accounted for just under $150,000 of the total. The 233 individually listed donors from out of state collectively accounted for about $722,000.
Kristof’s campaign tweeted on Monday afternoon that it had racked up 2,522 individual donors from Oregon. Campaign finance records don’t directly confirm that number, but they do list just over $121,000 total in the category of Miscellaneous Cash Contributions $100 and under.
The other two heavyweight contenders for the Democratic Party nomination are Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek, whose campaign had about $454,000 in cash on hand as of Monday, and State Treasurer Tobias Read, who had about $327,000. Yamhill County Commissioner Casey Kulla had about $14,000.
Oregon State Senator Betsy Johnson, D-Scappoose, who serves in the legislature as a Democrat but is running for governor as an unaffiliated candidate, showed a cash balance of about $515,000 as of Monday.
Among the Republican candidates, West Linn political consultant Bridget Barton was in the lead as of Monday with about $241,000 in cash on hand, followed by Salem physician Bud Pierce, who previously ran for governor in 2016, with about $215,000 in cash on hand.
Sandy mayor Stan Pulliam had about $187,000, Baker City Mayor Kerry McQuisten had about $49,000 and Medford business owner Jessica Gomez had about $11,000. The remaining candidates across all parties all showed less than $10,000 on hand as of Monday.
Kristof’s $1 million report, coming less than two weeks after he formally entered the race, signals that he’s “real,” Bergstein said. The other leading candidates are off to great starts as well, he added, but it was expected that Kotek, Read and Johnson would be able to amass cash reserves quickly.
“I think the surprise here in the race at this point is that another candidate who has basically popped into the race here looks like he’s going to have the resources to be able to run a very competitive race,” he said.