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Secretary of state candidates blast Hoyle's Bloomberg donation

RICHARD DEVVLINSALEM — The Democratic primary for Oregon secretary of state is growing more contentious, as the May 17 election deadline approaches.

Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian and state Sen. Richard Devlin, D-Tualatin, on Monday sharply criticized state Rep. Val Hoyle, D-Eugene, for accepting a $250,000 campaign contribution from billionaire gun control advocate Michael Bloomberg. All three are running for secretary of state.

“At a time when Rep. Hoyle is claiming she will get big money out of Oregon politics, her accepting the largest contribution in the history of a Secretary of State’s race from a New York billionaire is shocking,” Devlin said in a statement on Monday. “Even more disturbing is that this $250,000 check is an admitted direct payback for a single piece of legislation.”

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EO MEDIA GROUPDevlin was referring to statements by a spokesman for Bloomberg in a recent article in Willamette Week. According to the Bloomberg spokesman, the former New York City mayor contributed to Hoyle’s campaign out of appreciation for her work to gain passage of bill in 2015 that expanded background checks to all private firearm transfers, with certain exceptions.

Brad Pyle, Avakian’s campaign manager, also criticized Hoyle for accepting the Bloomberg contribution on Monday. “The hypocrisy of Val Hoyle is astounding,” Pyle wrote in an email. “While preaching her commitment to reduce the influence of money in politics she was accepting a quarter-million dollar check from a Wall Street billionaire, silencing the voices of everyday Oregonians.”

VAL HOYLEHoyle has raised the most money in the Democratic primary with nearly $855,000 since 2015, while Avakian has raised $626,000 in that time frame, according to an analysis of state campaign finance reports. Devlin has raised more than $294,000 since 2015.

Hoyle received the contribution from Bloomberg nearly a year after the Oregon House passed the gun control bill. Cody Chasteen, Hoyle’s campaign manager, said the campaign was honored to receive the contribution.

“I think (Devlin) and commissioner Avakian have received significant donations from organizations that have business in front of both of their respective offices, whether it’s the Ways and Means committee or the Bureau of Labor and Industries office,” Chasteen said. “I think those in our eyes are a little concerning.”

Devlin is co-chairman of the budget writing Joint Ways and Means Committee, and campaign finance records reveal Avakian and Devlin have both received contributions from entities that can be impacted by their decisions such as the health care industry and labor unions.

The Capital Bureau is a collaboration between EO Media Group and Pamplin Media Group. Hillary Borrud can be reached at 503-364-4431 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..