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Oregon’s Gubernatorial Battleground: Phil Knight's Big Nike Money Vs Extremist Identity Politics (10/23/22 12:29 PST) (1 Viewer)


Direct Headline: Oregon’s close governor’s race is a referendum on Portland

Economist Oct 20th 2022

....Worsening homelessness in Democratic strongholds is becoming a political liability.... For years, liberal cities in the U.S have tolerated people living in tents in parks and public spaces, but increasingly leaders in places like Portland, Oregon, New York and Seattle are removing encampments and pushing other strict measures that would've been unheard of a few years ago.....Christine Drazan, the Republican running for governor in Oregon, opens (via a widespread campaign ad) with a woman recounting how she was held at knifepoint by a homeless man in Portland. It was only thanks to the police that she survived, she tells the camera, before warning that Kate Brown, the current Democratic governor, and Tina Kotek, the Democratic candidate to replace her, are “releasing criminals” and making Oregonians “less safe”....

....Portland, the state’s biggest city, is an avatar of the Pacific north-west’s particular brand of progressive. Yet the governor’s race is surprisingly close for a state that Joe Biden won by 16 points. Polls suggest that Ms Drazan, formerly the top Republican in Oregon’s House of Representatives, has a slight edge over Ms Kotek, that body’s former Speaker. Ms Drazan could become Oregon’s first Republican governor since Ronald Reagan was president....There are two main reasons for this. First, a third candidate, Betsy Johnson, is splitting the vote. Before renouncing her party to run as an independent, Ms Johnson spent 15 years as a conservative Democrat in the state legislature. Her politics resemble those of Joe Manchin, the senator for West Virginia. She supports abortion rights, but annoys more-liberal Democrats by arguing for gun rights and blocking environmental regulation. Ms Johnson has benefited from the beneficence of Phil Knight, co-founder of Nike and Oregon’s richest man, who poured nearly $4m into her campaign (he recently donated $1m to Ms Drazan too). Ms Johnson’s campaign is pulling votes from Ms Kotek, as she courts Oregon’s many unaffiliated voters and Democrats looking for a change.....

....Second, the race has become a referendum on Portland, which is struggling with violent crime, street homelessness and drug addiction..... fear and resentment towards Democrats, who run all levels of state government. But it plays on the real worries of Oregonians about Portland’s deterioration. Nearly three-quarters of likely voters polled by the Oregonian in September said they view the city negatively. Ms Brown, the outgoing governor, is the least popular governor in America. Ms Johnson and Ms Drazan are trying their best to paint Ms Kotek as her political doppelganger....Worsening homelessness, which voters say is the most important problem facing the state, has made change more appealing to habitual Democrats. The homeless population of Multnomah County, which includes Portland, grew by 30% between 2019 and 2022, to roughly 5,200 people. Most of the growth has been among those who sleep outside. Rising housing costs and the closure of shelters during the pandemic have pushed more people onto the streets....

....The proliferation of tent encampments in Portland’s Old Town neighbourhood near the city centre has blocked pavements, scattered rubbish and made people’s struggles with addiction more visible. Portland Clean and Safe, a programme that employs formerly homeless people to clean downtown, disposed of more than 180,000 needles in 2021, up from 5,000 in 2014. Anthony McDougald, one of the programme’s cleaners, often visits his brother who still lives on the street. “At one point you couldn’t get through the sidewalk because of everybody’s tent.."..."....and for a lot of people that’s very dystopian.....”

....Oregon’s Democrats are seeing what happens when elected officials demote public safety to a secondary concern. Local Democrats took chants to “defund the police” to heart in 2020...... The cuts came at a particularly inopportune time. For decades Portland was one of America’s safest cities. But the murder rate spiked there in 2020, as it did in cities across the country.....The cuts worsened a staffing shortage .... the loss of many officers following the city’s violent protests in summer of 2020. .... extremists flocked to Portland to stir up trouble....buildings were set on fire ........The political violence that tarred Portland’s peaceful protests is still on voters’ minds. About 70% of Portland voters say the demonstrations damaged public safety, and fully half suggest that they actually harmed racial unity....

...Portland’s struggles matter beyond state lines. West-coast cities from San Diego to Seattle seem unsure what to do about sky-high housing costs, tent encampments and open-air drug markets. These are also political problems for Democrats, who run America’s big cities......The growth of encampments is a rebuke to progressive politicians out to prove that their policies make life better and more equal for everyone.....The governor’s race in Oregon will test whether a left-leaning state will punish Democrats for problems that have mushroomed on their watch. If Mr Wheeler’s prediction is right, liberals elsewhere may want to pay attention....


Direct Headline: Nike co-founder Phil Knight declares war on Democrats in Oregon

Knight has invested millions into Democrat Tina Kotek's opponents, and polls show a Republican lead

By Anders Hagstrom October 16, 2022

....Nike co-founder Phil Knight said he will do anything to block Democrats from keeping their hold on Oregon's gubernatorial seat Saturday....Knight, 84, has poured cash into the campaigns of Democrat Tina Kotek's opponents in the governors race. He helped to kickstart a campaign from Betsy Johnson, a former Democrat running as an independent, who is serving as a major spoiler for Kotek....Johnson's candidacy is giving Republican (Christine) Drazan the opportunity she needs in a liberal electorate no longer confident in the state's recent far-left policies....Knight went on to describe himself as "an anti-Tina person," to NYT....

....Oregon has not elected a Republican governor since 1982.....FiveThirtyEight has Drazan at a 3-point lead over Kotek, with 37.4% and 34.3% respectively. Meanwhile, Johnson sits at just 16.4% support....Drazan has styled herself as a moderate Republican in the race, focusing heavily on the issues of crime and homelessness....."Tina Kotek and Betsy Johnson have been driving Kate Brown's agenda for years. They've led Oregon down the wrong path....(have not) fixed anything...(and) made things worse..... My roadmap for Oregon cleans up our streets, stops the tax increases, and makes life more affordable for Oregon families...."

...But Johnson has pushed back against the "spoiler" designation, telling crowd members at a campaign appearance she is "not the spoiler candidate" and is "in this to win," ...Johnson was in Oregon's statehouse for 20 years as a Democrat before she quit the party in 2021 to run as an unaffiliated candidate for governor....Democrat Kate Brown has been Oregon's governor since 2015....(and) is not running again in 2022 due to term limits....Nike's co-founder, Knight, has donated at least $3.75 million to Johnson's campaign and $1 million to Drazan's campaign, according to the AP...Knight has a long history of clashing with Oregon lawmakers....

...Mr. Knight, Oregon’s richest man, is now the largest single contributor to both Ms. Johnson and Ms. Drazan. His largess has helped turn the race into a tossup, forcing Democrats to divert money in a bid to retain the governor’s office....Mr. Knight, who rarely speaks with reporters, said in an interview on Thursday that he would do whatever he could to stop Ms. Kotek from becoming governor, describing himself as “an anti-Tina person.”...Ms. Kotek, a former State House speaker, is in trouble because of a cocktail of political maladies and a backlash against Gov. Kate Brown, who polls show is the country’s least popular governor. Next week, Ms. Kotek’s own conduct in Salem will be scrutinized by a legislative committee after one of her former caucus colleagues accused her of making threats to win support for legislation she wanted to pass....

....Mr. Knight, in the interview, said he had abandoned Ms. Johnson’s campaign because she could not “get enough undecided voters to make up the difference” with Ms. Kotek and Ms. Drazan...Asked if serving as a financial benefactor for an anti-abortion politician ran counter to his company’s well-manicured image as a champion of social justice causes, he replied: “Nike has good leadership. They make choices, whatever they want, but I think I’m more conservative than Nike.” Mr. Knight is the chairman emeritus of Nike’s board but does not run the company day to day.....



Direct Headline: Knight's love-hate relationship with Oregon

by Matthew Kish December 11th 2012

....At the meeting, lawmakers will consider a proposal that would .... lock-in Nike's taxes for future years, likely attracting at least a $150 million Nike expansion project....The meeting comes less than two years after Knight said the state was in a "death spiral" in a column in The Oregonian. He described two business tax increases (Measures 66 and 67, both of which passed) as "Oregon's Assisted Suicide Law II."....Last year, Knight lashed out after the Board of Higher Education said it would not renew the contract of University of Oregon President Richard Lariviere, calling the decision an "embrace of mediocrity." He subsequently joined with other high-profile executives and formed a political action committee to lobby for education reform....

...Nike and the city of Beaverton also duked it out in 2004 after the city announced plans to annex unincorporated territory, including Nike's headquarters in unincorporated Washington County....At the same time Knight has criticized Oregon leaders, he's become the most powerful philanthropist in state history. He and wife Penny gave Oregon Health & Science University $125 million this year. That's in addition to the $100 million the Knights gave in 2008....He also paid for a $41.7 million center for University of Oregon athletes. That's on top of the $100 million gift he made to the University of Oregon Athletics Legacy Fund that propelled the university's rise to athletic prominence, the largest gift in the university's history....Knight also gave $105 million to Stanford Business School.....Knight is no longer the Fortune 500 company's CEO, but his voice is the one that matters most. He owns 74.8 percent of the company's powerful Class A shares, which elect three-fourths of the company's board, according to Nike's last proxy statement....

Knight's overwhelming generosity and his displeasure with Oregon leaders put Oregon lawmakers in a tough spot. How far should a state bend?



"One of the political cartoons after our legislative session had a person snorting cocaine out of a mountain of white.....It said, ‘Which of these is illegal in Oregon?’ And the answer was the plastic straw."
- Nike co-founder Phil Knight, 2022 interview with the New York Times

The Oregon's Governor race is an interesting test case for the rest of the Mid Terms and the 2024 general cycle. Phil Knight, yes the same guy who infused so much money in Oregon college football and changed their pathway forever, gave nearly 4 million to Betsy Johnson, to oust Kate Brown loyalist, Tina Kotek at all costs. When it was clear that was not enough, he ended up donating at minimum of a million dollars to Christine Drazen, a Republican, instead.

Extreme identity politics and Big Blue policies behind that, were a declaration of war on the working class and small businesses during 2020, during all the rioting, looting and burning. But with Knight involved, you begin to see "woke" is also bad for big business. You can't operate in a sea of homeless encampments and drug dens while working class every day people flee the city and the state altogether. Phil Knight can't support Oregon all by himself, you cannot crush the tax base which is the bed rock for any hope at practical functional governance.

What happens with Big Money donors and those with major platforms decide to declare war back on Team Blue and these extremist woke identity politics based positions? There is now a loose confederation consisting of Bill Burr, Dave Chappelle, Elon Musk, Joe Rogan, JK Rowling and many others who were under the chopping block for being "cancelled" But their platforms were too large and their audiences too established. What happens when you have so many of these power players, now including someone like Phil Knight, who are sick of "woke"? What happens is a "force multiplier effect" with these platforms. Musk can reach millions quickly and efficiently. Rogan's podcast reaches in the hundreds of millions in monthly downloads at times. And that list goes on and on.

And here's the really dangerous part. Not all Republicans are worth electing. However if you keep inflicting this kind of madness and terror on the working class, drowning them in crime, homeless, fear, violence and economic instability, they'll vote for ANYONE NOT DEMOCRAT. For the radical leftists here who keep shouting about "right wing extremists", how do you keep the "bad candidates out" when your Party is so anchored by such political toxicity, that votes will automatically be cast just to oppose "woke" at all costs?

You cannot criticize "right wing extremists" and also enable the public policies and destructive fallout that helps get them into office in the first place. And yes, this includes the idiotic strategy by the current DNC HQ to spend millions to fund "Stop The Steal" type GOP primary candidates all across the country.

Team Blue thought it was a good idea to try to play "Stupid Games" with Phil Knight. Well, he's not willing to swallow the "Stupid Prizes" that come with it.

Play Stupid Games. Win Stupid Prizes. That's the story in Oregon. It's the story in Portland. And that story that might replicate in every major Blue stronghold in the entire country.

I'll leave this here for others to discuss.
Direct Headline: 'I came here because Oregon is dangerously close to flipping red': Sen. Elizabeth Warren campaigns for Tina Kotek in Portland

Alma McCarty (KGW) October 23, 2022

With just over two weeks until Election Day, the Senator from Massachusetts stopped by the Rose City to make a final plea to voters in the race for Oregon governor....Candidates in Oregon are pushing their platforms and working hard to win over voters in the final stretch before Election Day. Part of that strategy includes appearances and endorsements from big name politicians, which is especially true when it comes to Oregon's race for governor....

...A week after President Joe Biden visited Portland to campaign for Tina Kotek, Sen. Elizabeth Warren made an appearance at a Kotek rally, at the Wonder Ballroom on Saturday night. ..."I didn't come here because I believe this is a safe seat. I came here because Oregon is dangerously close to flipping red, and we have 17 election days to keep that from happen," Sen. Warren told the crowd.....

The Senator from Massachusetts pleaded for attendees to keep door-knocking, phone-banking and rallying support around Kotek. ...."I will be a governor for the entire state," said Kotek, "And on day one, we're going to get to work - taking on our homelessness challenge, making sure people have access to mental health and addiction treatment. We have work to do here and we don't have to become a right-wing state to fix our problems...."

"I'm worried about Oregon turning red, simply because Betsy Johnson is running," said Brady O'Connor-Gillham.



When Team Blue in Oregon lost Phil Knight, they also lost everyone under Knight and Nike's umbrella of influence. It's too complicated for Knight to outright support a Republican candidate, so he's back end supporting an "independent" candidate in Betsy Johnson, to siphon votes away from Democrat Kotek so radical leftists no longer have control of the state.

How does Knight hope to do business in a state being overrun with crime, rioting, looting, burning, homelessness and fear of just walking down the streets? It's also a question of his massive investment in the state. He's going to ask himself what were those hundreds of millions he spent for if Portland and entire state burn around him anyway?

For Tina Kotek, the support of Elizabeth Warren was a boost. It helps get her name and brand into the national daily media cycle. However the support of Biden was double edged sword. Biden's appearance is toxic for any 2022 campaign for Democrats fighting to win or fighting to hold onto a seat. But Kotek is in no position to say "No" to the Party apparatus and the DNC.

The people of Oregon don't care what you say you are going to do, they care what you didn't do when you had the chance. Kotek, for better or worse, was aligned with Kate Brown, and many in the state just outright despised Brown, even in her own Party. The question becomes, where were Biden and Warren before? When Portland was burning? When Portland was besieged night after night of rioting and looting? When Portland was being crushed by crime in the streets and utter lawlessness? When Portland turned into a haven for the core problems of the homelessness crisis?

Oregon isn't magically becoming Red, it simply will support anything other than the status quo with Blue, because Blue has proven it will fail them. This is the bane of the current Democratic Party. They keep talking about the danger of Republicans in power. Look at Warren, who is completely tone deaf in her approach, her only concern is keeping the GOP from getting a chance to right the ship, not on the material needs of these embattled working class people.

How insane is that kind of political marketing strategy? You can't demonize the other side and ramp up your own failures to the obvious point where the other side also looks like the state's only hope. It's telling voters, all of them, not just hard Blue and not just hard Red, that you believe they are too stupid to understand the difference. If Oregon flips Red, it's less about the GOP winning it and more about Team Blue giving it away by abandoning the working class.

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