Orestar, the Oregon Secretary of State site that tracks campaign contributions, shows that interest remains high in supporting local elections and, in general, that money does predict a campaign’s success.
In the Ward 6 race this spring, progressive Chris Hoy got more votes than his closest competitor, businessman Greggery Peterson, in that contest, Orestar shows that Hoy’s campaign received about $5,350 in small contributions under $100 and about $2,970 from 9 larger donors.
Additionally, Hoy received more sizable donations from three sources; $1,200 from the Progressive Salem PAC, $1,000 from activist Brian Hines and $500 from Citizen Action for Political Education.
In contrast, Peterson received a remarkable $5,595 in contributions of under $100, two somewhat larger donations that totaled $400 and one sizable chunk of $1,000 from Mountain West, or Lawrence Tokarski.
Unlike previous candidates endorsed by the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce, Peterson did not receive large gifts directly from the Chamber-related Create Jobs PAC, the Salem Association of Realtors or the Home Builders Association of Marion and Polk Counties.
With contributions of more than $11,000, Hoy received markedly more than Peterson’s nearly $7,000.
The story of contributions in that ward was very different three years ago, when the race was decided in favor of “Chamber” candidate Daniel Benjamin, who in 2014 outspent progressive Xue Lor 10-to-1. The vast bulk of Benjamin’s contributions (about $14,500 of a budget of roughly $15,700) came from the Chamber PAC and realtor and homebuilders interests.
Sometimes, money does not sway voters. The Salem police bond measure last November, which asked voters to approve an $82 million, 148,000 SF police station, failed despite supporters contributing more than $106,000 for advertising to encourage a “yes” vote. Opponents to the measure made contributions of less than $2,000.
A new vote on a similar bond is approaching with another significant gap in contributions. Supporters of the 2016 police station bond have placed a somewhat less costly police facility bond on the May 16, 2017 ballot. The price tag for the new project would be about $62 million. This time, neither the Voter Pamphlet nor the City of Salem’s web page provide an estimate for square footage, nor are architectural plans released.
However, for this new bond, supporters have already exceeded their contributions of 2016. As this story went to print, contributions in favor of the May bond total more than $107,000.
Significant donors to the bond include $20,000 total from three car dealerships and $12,500 from Salem Health.
The vast bulk of donations come from real estate and development interests. They include The Oregon Association of Realtors ($5,000) Mark Burnham of Hawthorne Development LLC ($5,000) Real estate professional Byron Hendricks ($2,000) Mid-Valley Affordable Housing Coalition ($2,500) and developer Laurence Tokarski ($50,000).
The bond’s opponent has contributed $2,200.