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Nikes big money pushes council race to a record

Nike Inc. and its Chairman Phil Knight invested a hefty $61,975 backing a political newcomer in a failed attempt to unseat incumbent Beaverton City Councilor Betty Bode.

Those campaign contributions add up to more than the annual medium income for both Oregon ($41,794) and Beaverton ($51,626).

'It's very unusual to see that kind of money in a city council race,' said Steve Bryant, interim executive director of the League of Oregon Cities.

According to the most recent campaign contribution filings, Bode collected $16,700 for her re-election bid, while challenger Bob Burke received $65,580.98.

Together they raised a combined $82,280.98, making the 2006 primary election for the Position 2 seat the most expensive council race in Beaverton's history.

'It ranks right up there at the top for expenditures in a city council race in the state's history,' Bryant added. 'We have 241 cities and city council race expenditures are often reported in the hundreds of dollars rather than thousands.

'It's really unusual to see larger campaigns in city council races because it's not difficult to get the message out.'

Outside of Portland City Council races and hotly contested city races in Eugene and Salem, Bryant can't think of other local campaigns that might rise to that same level of contributions and expenditures.

Burke and Bode raised eight times more than the previous Beaverton high of $9,814 collected by Catherine Arnold and Keith Parker in their race for the Position 4 open seat in the 2004 primary.

In the end, Bode defeated Burke in the May 16 election, 7,151 votes to 4,943.