PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Nike co-founder Phil Knight has donated $500,000 to Republican gubernatorial candidate Knute Buehler.

The large donation comes nine months before the Oregon primaries, with Buehler the early favorite to advance to a general election matchup with Democratic Gov. Kate Brown.

Knight has spent heavily in recent gubernatorial elections. He donated $400,000 to Republican candidate Chris Dudley in 2010. Four years later, he gave $250,000 to Democrat John Kitzhaber.

Buehler said in a statement Wednesday that he's thrilled to have Knight on his team. He said Knight "looks beyond narrow political labels - and so do I."