Koch Group Pours Cash Into Oregon Senate Race

Image: Koch Group Pours Cash Into Oregon Senate Race Senate GOP nominee Monica Wehby, left, and Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley.

Friday, 18 Jul 2014 01:08 PM

By Melanie Batley

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A group funded by conservative billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch is pouring millions of dollars into a television ad campaign in Oregon where Senate GOP nominee Monica Wehby is campaigning to unseat Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley.

Politico Pro reported Thursday that Freedom Partners, the conservative nonprofit, purchased $1.9 million in airtime in the state, which accounts for almost a quarter of the total estimated $7.5 million the group plans to spend on air time in races across the country between August and November, according to the Huffington Post.

"The Big Oil billionaire Koch brothers want a rubber stamp for their leave-no-millionaire-behind, anti-middle class agenda in Washington, D.C., and that's why they're dropping millions into Oregon to buy our Senate seat for Monica Wehby," Merkley spokeswoman Lindsey O'Brien said in a statement.

Wehby, a Portland pediatric neurosurgeon, won a four-way primary with an anti-Obamacare message that caught the attention and support of many national Republicans, including at least 15 senators and 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

Wehby's campaign announced Thursday that it had raised more than $955,000 during the second quarter. Merkley raised nearly double at $1.8 million, according to the Post.
The nonprofit is also making major expenditures in Iowa, Colorado, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Michigan.

A Republican has not been elected senator in Oregon in over 10 years, and polls since April have given Merkley an average lead of 10 percent over Wehby. Merkley, however, narrowly won his seat in 2008 and is on the GOP's target list.


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