In Oregon where 90% of the legislative districts are safe, and with Democrats now holding supermajorities in both the State House and Senate, how do traditional Republican donors bend the political curve?
They won’t by continuing to do it by spending more and more money in hopeless general election contests. But they could influence legislation by finding and supporting the most moderate candidates in Democratic primaries.
- Primary elections are cheaper. Moderate business interests (Main Street business, and locally owned businesses) could stretch the field and participate in more contests forcing the Democratic donors to compete in elections statewide.
- Backing a Democrat – even a moderate who may not see eye to eye with Democratic leadership on all issues – is less likely to create bad will between the donor and the Democratic hierarchy. Something donors are very aware of and try to avoid.
- One may argue that electing a slightly left of center Democrat isn’t a very good return on investment for business interests, but it’s certainly more cost effective than financing the election of a losing Republican candidate in November.
These moderate business interests shouldn’t discount Republican races of course. They should also focus on Republican primary contests. More moderate candidates will rebuild the Oregon GOP reputation among the independent voters of Oregon and if some moderates can be nominated and win in safe Republican districts, those officials may have more influence among their fellow Democratic moderates than far right Republicans currently have.
Smart business people know what to invest in and today, the Oregon GOP is a depreciating asset.