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Sources Say: Candidates' claws come out in lead-up to primary election

With about a week to go before the May 20 primary election, charges and counterchargers are flying between campaigns, including completely silly and convolted ones.

For example, Multnomah County Chair candidate Deborah Kafoury recently filed a formal election complaint against the Oregon Family Council for mistakenly saying she was against abortion in its Voters’ Guide. Kafoury, who is pro-choice, claimed the error was done intentionally to hurt her campaign — even though the guide was distributed primarily to conservative voters who are against abortion. Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown wisely ruled her office lacks jurisdiction in the matter.

And practically everyone is trying to make something out of Republican Oregon U.S. Senate candidate Monica Wehby’s alleged relationship with lumberman Andrew Miller, who has helped fund some ads against state Rep. Jason Conger, her major primary election opponent.

Both Conger and the Democratic Party of Oregon have charged that Miller’s contribution to a SuperPAC are illegal because he and Wehby may or may not be or have been an item. The Democratic Party has even gone so far as to file a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission — something that supporters of Democratic U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley will undoubtedly trumpet in the general election if Wehby is the Republican nominee.

Hopefuls increase their exposure

Candidates also are participating in public protests to increase their visibility.

For example, Nick Caleb, a Concordia University professor running against Commissioner Dan Saltzman, has helped organize and participated in numerous demonstrations in support of a $15 minimum wage in recent months, even though state law prohibits the city from setting a minimum wage.

Jeremiah Johnson, a Portland Bottling Co. employee running against Metro President Tom Hughes, has helped organize protests against keeping elephants at the Oregon Zoo, which Metro owns and operates.

And beginning last week, Sharon Maxwell, a businesswoman running against Commissioner Nick Fish, began what she said would be a seven-day protest outside City Hall. Among other issues Maxwell discussed was the need for more public oversight of the water and sewer bureaus.

She did not endorse the Portland Public Water District measure on the May 20 primary election ballot, however, saying it was flawed. Instead, Maxwell endorsed the People’s Water Trust initiative that has yet to qualify for the November general election ballot.

UPDATE: After Sources ran, Maxwell issued a statement saying she support Measure 26-156. See comment below.

Hales, Fish walk the talk

Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Nick Fish are putting their money where their mouths are when it comes to the water and sewer measure — or at least their campaign committees’ money. Recent filings show Hales has contributed $10,000 from his campaign committee against Measure 26-156. Fish has contributed $5,000 in campaign funds to the Stop the Bull Run Takeover PAC, despite being up for re-election himself this year.

The two contributions helped push the total cash and in-kind donations against the measure to more than $271,000. Since putting the measure on the ballot, its supporters have reported raising slightly less than $97,000 to pass it.