Cash flows to incumbents in House races

PORTLAND — In the closest congressional race expected in Oregon this November, incumbent Democrat Kurt Schrader holds a nearly 9-to-1 fundraising advantage over his Republican challenger.

That was the theme for candidates for congressional office across Oregon on Thursday, as incumbents solidified significant fundraising leads in the state's Senate and House races.

Candidates faced a midnight deadline Thursday to give the Federal Election Commission their fundraising figures from April 29 until the end of June. Two challengers had not filed by late Thursday afternoon.

Schrader faces Republican Scott Bruun, a state representative and member of a prominent construction company family.

Vice President Joe Biden flew to Portland last week to support Schrader at a $200-a-plate fundraiser in a year when the White House has publicly acknowledged that Republicans could take a significant share of seats in the House.

Biden's visit came after the reporting period ended, but Schrader was doing well even before then. He netted about $247,000 between late April and the end of June, and spent about $62,000. He had about $915,000 on hand at the end of June.

Bruun faces an uphill climb as he spent almost as much money as he raised between the end of the primaries and June. Bruun had only $178,000 in cash on hand at the end of June. He raised about $154,000 while spending about $95,000.

But the numbers don't mean Bruun's chances are over, said political scientist Jim Moore of Pacific University.

"There is something beyond the numbers, and that's simply the fact that Schrader is in his first defense of his seat," Moore said. "Schrader, because his district is relatively evenly divided and because he's in his first term, will be considered the most vulnerable in the Pacific Northwest."

Support from political action committees played a major role. Bruun raised just $13,100 in PAC contributions, while Schrader amassed $151,500 from PACs. He has raised $783,000 total from PACs since the beginning of his campaign.

In Oregon's Senate race, incumbent Democrat Sen. Ron Wyden picked up $977,000 while spending about $315,000. The fundraising in his race against Republican Jim Huffman isn't close: Wyden had $4.2 million in cash on hand to Huffman's $527,000. Huffman picked up $205,000 since the primaries.

In other races, U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, a Democrat from Oregon's 3rd District, had raised about $169,000 during the reporting period — more than 70 percent of which came in the form of PAC contributions — and spent about $134,000. Blumenauer had about $395,000 cash on hand at the end of June.

His opponent, Republican Delia Lopez, had collected about $19,000, all of it from individual contributions. She spent about $7,900. She can count about $76,000 in cash on hand.

Blumenauer is not expected to face a significant challenge from Lopez, and incumbents are considered safe in three other congressional races.

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, a Republican representing Oregon's 2nd District, accumulated a massive $995,000 war chest while raising $204,000 and not spending much — just $63,000 in what is expected to be an easy race. His challenger, Joyce Segers, had not filed by Thursday afternoon.

Rep. David Wu from Oregon's 1st District raised $282,000 between April 29 and June 30. His opponent, Rob Cornilles, had also not reported fundraising results by Thursday afternoon.

Wu was Oregon's biggest spender among House candidates with $144,000 in expenditures. He still had $627,000 in cash on hand at the end of June.

Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon's 4th District raised $122,00 and spent about $47,000. He had about $744,000 in cash on hand. His opponent, Art Robinson, had raised $169,000 and spent most of it, about $105,000. He had close to $90,000 in cash on hand at the end of June.

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