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Pierce relying on GOP donors to fund gubernatorial campaign

Salem oncologist contributed nearly $1.4 million to his own campaign for governor

PARIS ACHEN - Bud Pierce appears alone Friday, July 22, 2016, at the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association gubernatorial debate in Silverton. Gov. Kate Brown declined to participate in any debates until September.SILVERTON — GOP gubernatorial nominee Bud Pierce said Friday that he is unlikely to invest any more of his own money in his campaign for governor.

“I think my affluence is pretty tapped at this point,” Pierce said. “I frankly need to be able to attract larger Republican donors.”

Pierce made the comments during the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association conference Friday at the Oregon Garden here. For the past 30 years, ONPA has traditionally hosted the first gubernatorial debate of the general election season. The debate turned into a one-person forum for Pierce, after Gov. Kate Brown declined to join in the event.

Pierce, a Salem oncologist, has contributed $1.365 million to his own campaign. He has raised about $700,000 in contributions from others and spent about $1.6 million. Pierce poured most of his money into a successful bid to gain name recognition and defeat his better-known opponent, Allen Alley, during the primary election in May.

Pierce is relying on large donors to orchestrate his general election campaign, said Stacey Kafka, communications director of Pierce’s campaign.

“Kate Brown will have union backing; that’s for sure, and she’ll have large donors, and I need to be able to do that,” Pierce said. “That is part of being a viable candidate.

Brown skips annual event

During Friday's event, Pierce made a speech and fielded questions from a panel of journalists. A podium next to him symbolically stood empty, where Brown had been invited to appear and debate her opponent.

Brown, the former secretary of state, is seeking election to her top state post, which she inherited when Gov. John Kitzhaber resigned amid an influence-peddling scandal in February 2015.

In a June 9 email, Brown’s campaign declined to participate in the debate, making her the first incumbent in 30 years to skip the event, according to the ONPA. Brown’s campaign gave the reason that the governor was “focused on her official duties” and would hold off on any debates until September.

Brown originally was scheduled to attend the Oregon Mayors Association conference in Lincoln City Friday but had to cancel after she found out two weeks ago that her mother in Minnesota was scheduled to have breast cancer surgery earlier this week, said Kristen Grainger, Brown’s communications director.

Pierce has blasted Brown for sidestepping the ONPA debate, but on Tuesday, he tweeted to Brown: “I’m hoping for a good outcome for your mom. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.”

By Paris Achen
Portland Tribune Capital Bureau Reporter
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