Money pours into Kitzhaber campaign account
SALEM, Ore. (AP) Gov. John Kitzhaber hasn't said whether he'll launch a re-election bid, but he's been busy collecting cash for one.Kitzhaber's campaign has reported contributions of nearly $232,000 so far this year, more than half of it in the last two months. He's matched the amount he raised in all of 2012.Last month, on a two-day state-paid trip to Washington, Kitzhaber met with lobbyists and interest groups in between official meetings.Kitzhaber, a Democrat, has said repeatedly that he hasn't made up his mind about running for a fourth term. But that hasn't stopped some big checks from rolling in.In the past two months, Nike and Comcast have each contributed $10,000. He's received 12 other contributions of at least $5,000, including from Portland General Electric employees, PacifiCorp and several attorneys and business executives.He has nearly $140,000 in the bank, according to campaign finance disclosures.On a trip to Washington this month, Kitzhaber met with lobbyists including several who work with health care and energy clients along with Democratic fundraisers and officials representing homebuilders and nurse anesthetists.Tim Raphael, a spokesman for Kitzhaber's official office, said the state paid for the trip because the primary purpose was state business. Kitzhaber met with the secretaries of commerce and transportation, along with officials from the White House Office of Management and Budget and former U.S. Sen. Tom Daschle, whose help Kitzhaber is seeking in advancing his health care reforms beyond Oregon.Kitzhaber narrowly beat Republican Chris Dudley in 2010, beginning an unprecedented third term after eight years out of office. He's widely expected to face a much easier race if he decides to run again. With a tea-party fueled wave of support for the GOP, 2010 was one of the toughest years in memory for Democrats.Republicans Dennis Richardson, a state representative from Central Point, and Jon Justesen, a rancher from Eastern Oregon, have announced plans to challenge him. Richardson has raised $135,000, including $20,000 from Stimson Lumber, and Justesen has collected $40,000.Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.