Why Brad Avakian could win (sadly)

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“Got ya fooled, don’t I?”

A local pollster told me awhile ago that about 50 percent of eligible voters in Oregon don’t know that the state has two U.S. senators (maybe because there’s only one senate race at a time).

KGW-TV reporter Pat Dooris recently held up two signs, one with the name Brad Avakian and the other with the name Dennis Richardson, and asked passersby in downtown Portland if they knew who the people were. All the answers? Nope. Nope. Nope.

I mention these situations because they demonstrate that a lot of voters are, in fact, a basket of deplorables in terms of political knowledge.

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Political knowledge levels have been poor for decades, despite increased education and the availability of information on the Internet.

A recent Fairleigh Dickinson University survey studied the “clueless factor” among voters. The survey found that only 34% of Americans can name the three branches of government, and 30% can’t even name one.

Other studies routinely find that large numbers of voters don’t know which officials are responsible for which issues, a circumstance that makes it hard to hold them accountable for their performance.

All that cluelessness bodes well for Brad Avakian.

Avakian is running for Oregon Secretary of State, but you’d never know it from his campaign. In a classic example of misdirection, instead of emphasizing his fit for the Secretary of State job, he’s running as a champion of liberal causes.

Look at one of his ubiquitous TV ads.

The ad notes that Avakian is endorsed by the Oregon League of Conservation Voters, the NARAL Pro Choice Oregon PAC, Planned Parenthood PAC of Oregon, Sierra Club Oregon Chapter, Oregon Education Association, and the Working Families Party.

Meanwhile, speakers in the ad emphasize how Avakian will protect the environment, break down the walls of discrimination, ensure a woman can make personal medical decisions about her pregnancy, and fight for regular people and not corporate special interests.

These topics have little to do with the job of the Oregon Secretary of State, but they do tug at the heartstrings of liberal voters. And that may well be what attracts enough voters to Avakian to make him the winner (and us the losers).

Why is Val Hoyle smiling?

moneyinpolitics

Like Hillary Clinton, Rep. Val Hoyle, D-Eugene, who’s running for Secretary of State,  wants to get the obscene amounts of money out of politics…..later.

 

That way, she can rake in bundles of money now while running for Oregon Secretary of State as a champion of fundraising reform.

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Val Hoyle (D-Eugene)

In the past, Hoyle has said she supports enacting a constitutional amendment to limit campaign contributions, so long as the limits aren’t “unreasonably low”.

She has also blamed Democratic losses outside Oregon on “fear and cynicism” among voters fostered by large political contributions “from a small handful of special interests”.

So much for worrying about special interests.

According to state records, Hoyle has raised $587,000 to date, putting her at the top of the fundraising pile among the Secretary of State candidates.

Val Hoyle (D)……………………..$592,728

Brad Avakian (D)…………………$387,482

Dennis Richardson (R)………….$297,413

Richard Devlin (D)……………. ..$172,315

Sid Leiken (R)……………………..$ 45,104

Hoyle’s biggest contributor is Michael Bloomberg, a New York businessman who supports aggressive gun control measures. On April 29, he gave Hoyle $250,000 in appreciation for her support of legislation that passed in the last session expanding background checks to almost all private firearm transfers.

“Mike is supporting Val Hoyle because her leadership in passing Oregon’s background check bill is truly notable,” Howard Wolfson, a spokesman for Bloomberg, told Willamette Week in an email. “No one in the country has worked harder —or more successfully—to take on the NRA than she has.”

Hoyle has also received $105,000 in contributions from Emily’s List, a Washington, D.C.-based political action committee that supports female candidates.

Without those two large contributions, both from out-of-state, Hoyle would have raised just $237,728, which would have put her behind both Brad Avakian and Dennis Richardson in fundraising totals.

 

P.S.: The other candidates aren’t exactly pure in their fundraising either, although they’re collecting nothing comparable to Hoyle from individual donors.

Brad Avakian’s larger contributions

  • $40,000 from United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555
  • $30,000 from Oregon School Employees Association – Voice of Involved Classified Employees (2307)
  • $10,000 from Pacific NW Regional Council of Carpenters, SSF
  • $10,000 from Oregon League of Conservation Voters PAC (2352)
  • $7,500 from Peter Goldman, a Seattle attorney
  • $6,000 from Naral Pro-Choice Oregon PAC (172)
  • $2,500 from Mt. & M Gaming, operator of The Last Frontier Casino in La Center, WA

 

Dennis Richardson’s larger contributions 

  • $25,000 from Sherman and Wanda Olsrud of Medford, OR
  • $15,000 from Larry Keith of Salem, OR
  • $15,000 from James Young of Lebanon, OR
  • $15,000 from Freres Timber, Inc. of Lyons, OR
  • $10,000 from Stephen M Greenleaf of Medford, OR
  • $10,000 from Richard E Uihlein of Lake Forest, IL
  • $10,000 from Murphy Co. of Eugene, OR
  • $5,000 from Zidelle Collin s of Shady Grove, OR
  • $5,000 from David A deVilleneuve of Central Point, OR