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One week, 781 contributions for Middaugh

Posted by on January 22nd, 2008 at 11:00 am

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Jim Middaugh (in blue) and friend
Bo Grayzel in the Auditor’s office.
(Photos © Jonathan Maus)

Portland City Council hopeful and daily bike commuter Jim Middaugh just turned in 781, $5 contributions to the City Auditor’s office.

Middaugh, who announced his run for Commissioner Erik Sten’s seat just last Monday showed up at City Hall today with long time friend Bo Grayzel. Middaugh told me he was “surprised and amazed” at how quickly his network of supporters have coalesced, enabling him to gather contributions at a rapid pace.

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City Auditor Gary Blackmer (at right, in tie)
chats with Middaugh.

A fund-raising event hosted by U.S. Congressman Peter Defazio in Southeast Portland on Sunday netted contributions from 100 people, and according to Middaugh, many of them were cyclists.

Middaugh has just nine more days to get 1,000, $5 contributions and qualify for public financing of his campaign.

Later this week, I have a meeting scheduled with Nick Fish, who some people think will be Middaugh’s primary contender in the race (Fish is not seeking public financing). Fish contacted me after he read the profile of Middaugh I published last week and says he wants to learn more about what bike issues will be important for the next City Council. (Stay tuned for that story).

In other campaign news, transportation and neighborhood activist Chris Smith is very close to the 1,000 mark in his public financing bid. Smith hopes to fill the Council seat vacated by Commissioner Adams.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Bicycledave January 22, 2008 at 11:23 am

    This is great news. Imagine the bike nirvana Portland could become if we get Chris Smith and Jim Middaugh on the city council along with Sam Adams as mayor!

    But, even if we can\’t have that we are moving the debate in our direction as evidenced by Nick Fish\’s interest in bike issues.

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  • Stripes January 22, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    Question from somebody not very \”in the know\” of local politics –

    Are people wishing to donate $5 able to donate to more than one candidate? What if you wanted to potentially donate to say, Chris Smith, AND Jim Middaugh.

    Is that allowed? Thanks for any advice!

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) January 22, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    Yes! Definitely.

    The $5 is not necessarily just a token of endorsement for a particular candidate… it is also showing your support for the idea of public financing and your desire to encourage grassroots candidates to make serious runs to elected positions.

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  • Metal Cowboy January 22, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    I gave chris $5 in person and mailed a fin to Jim. I emailed jim for the paperwork because there is some paperwork that goes along with your contribution. You can support public financing all you want but I\’m personally only giving funds to the candidates think will help my causes.

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  • West Cougar January 22, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    Let it be said, I for one am not in favor of public financing for Jim Middaugh. In my opinion public financing should be judiciously spared for the little guy. A sitting commissioner\’s chief of staff and one who has a Federal Congressman organize a fund raiser his behalf is, by definition, not a little guy.

    I may well vote for Jim Middaugh, but I won\’t be helping to put his campaign on the public dole.

    …thought that needed to be said.

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  • West Cougar January 22, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    And I did give $5 to Citizen Smith. On the Broadway Bridge over a donut and coffee, in fact.

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  • Bjorn January 22, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    Part of accepting public financing is that you don\’t accept large corporate funding. Look at the restrictions on seed money and in kind contributions. Voter owned elections are not about candidates being on the public dole, they are about giving us choices that are not bought and paid for by special interests. I think a better question to ask then why Jim is attempting to take part in the public financing process is why some of the candidates are not. It is probably more about wanting to take big donations than it is about not wanting to campaign on public money.



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  • West Cougar January 22, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    Are not Pete DeFazio and the DNC special interests? I submit they are.

    If the tables were turned, if this were Gordon Smith spearheading a fundraiser for Watzig, I think at least a few people here would be feeling differently about the situation.

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  • Sarah F January 22, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    I would like to support Jim as well and couldn\’t make it to Sunday\’s event. Any advice as to where to find the form and send in my $5 note?

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  • Sarah F January 22, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    Sorry! Just realized that we can go to his website http://middaughforportland.com/default.aspx to request a form.

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  • Bjorn January 22, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    If Gordon Smith were spearheading a fundraiser where people were giving 5 dollars each and the candidate he was supporting agreed to limit large contribution I think it would be great. The whole point is for more people to be more involved, and for large monied corporations to have less control. While I might not agree with Watzig or Smith public financing is there for all candidates, assuming that you can convince the minimum number of people to support you.

    It is consistent with Defazio\’s beliefs to support public financing, and the amount of money he would be allowed to contribute to the campaign would be limited in the same way as any other contributor. I havn\’t read anything about the Democratic National Committee being involved in the portland city commissioners race. I believe it is a non-partisan office.


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  • Matthew January 22, 2008 at 4:35 pm

    \”If the tables were turned, if this were Gordon Smith spearheading a fundraiser for Watzig, I think at least a few people here would be feeling differently about the situation.\”

    Or if, say, the Petroleum lobby was doing the same thing for Sho Dozono?

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  • Duane January 22, 2008 at 9:14 pm

    I guess it all depends on how you want to look at it. Are bikes a \”special\” interest? Or a general interest? A cyclist will probably say the latter, citing all the reasons why bicycling benefits everybody, even motorists. One of those crazy Terry Parker types will surely say bikes are a special interest, special because not everybody bikes.

    To my mind, the dividing line is based on whether you can reasonably say everybody benefits. If everybody benefits, directly or indirectly, it\’s not a special interest. With bikes, that\’s easy: one more bike means one less car, one less subsidized transit rider. Since everybody benefits, bicycling is not a special interest. (Full disclosure: I look forward to MAX to Hayden Island sometime soon.)

    On money, personally I\’d rather have my elected officials in debt to 1000 random people as opposed to 100 special interests who can afford to write big checks.

    Speaking of special interests, check out Len Bergstein\’s list of clients sometime. Bergstein is the dude behind Donzono\’s campaign. He tried to kill the commercial development moratorium in my neighborhood, which stopped a Wal-Mart. So yeah, I\’m biased. Of course I\’m voting for Sam. Bergstein\’s only clients are special interests. Dozono is seeking public money to try to avoid the problem of being labeled the \”business candidate,\” which of course he is.

    I\’m for Jim, and I\’m glad he\’s seeking public money. Jim, Chris Smith, Sam Adams. No need to worry that city council can\’t prioritize a measely $100,000 to fund a Bike Master Plan update. Remember those days???? They weren\’t that long ago.

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  • Daniel (teknotus) January 23, 2008 at 9:47 am

    Just because some candidates could get large contributions doesn\’t mean we shouldn\’t support their attempt at getting public funding. It forces them to get out, and talk to people.

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