Phil Knight, co-founder of mega athletic company Nike, has given $1 million to Drazan’s Oregon gubernatorial campaign, KATU reported. The move was reportedly first publicized by Willamette Week last week.
“Phil Knight is a pioneering and respected leader not just in Oregon, but across the globe. It’s a tremendous honor to have his support as well as the support of so many Oregonians from across our state,” Trey Rosser, Drazan’s Campaign Manager, said in a statement provided to The Daily Wire.
In the past, Knight gave $3.75 million to Betsy Johnson’s campaign. Johnson is the unaffiliated candidate running in the race for governor of Oregon, making it a three-way competition between herself, Drazan, and Democratic candidate Tina Kotek, who was formerly the Speaker of the Oregon House. Johnson served in the state legislature as a Democrat.
Knight has donated across the aisle. He also reportedly gave money to Republican Knute Buehler in 2018, according to That Oregon Life . Buehler ran for governor of Oregon in 2018, but was unsuccessful against Kate Brown.
Drazan has taken the lead in several recent polls, with results from recent Emerson College Polling showing her leading Kotek with 36% of support, while Kotek was at 34% favorability. She was up by two points in DHM Research and Nelson Research numbers; she was ahead by four points in Clout Research, and up one point in Cygnal’s polling, according to FiveThirtyEight’s reporting.
FiveThirtyEight sees the as race as extremely close — forecasting that both Drazan and Kotek have a 50% chance of success in the state.
The Republican is demonstrating a strong showing amid Oregonians’ concerns over crime, homelessness, and education — three topics for which she has provided solutions. Drazan has also pointed to her opponents’ failings in the legislature, and drawn on the frustration regarding COVID lockdowns.
Dr. Jim Moore, a psephologist at Pacific University Oregon, told The Daily Wire that Knight’s contribution is “definitely a move of support towards Drazan. …it looks like it’s becoming more of a two-person race between Drazan and Democrat Tina Kotek.”
“It’s still not clear if he supports Drazan, but he definitely doesn’t want Tina Kotek to be governor,” he added.
Moore pointed out that when he has previously given funds, Knight hasn’t had much influence among voters or donations.
“This might be different simply because he’s switching candidates. It might open the door to other people saying, ‘well, our real future is with Christine Drazan. So even though we’ve also given a lot of money to Betsy Johnson, we need to focus on helping Christine Drazan however we can,’” he added.
John Charles, president and CEO of Cascade Policy Institute had a different view, pointing to the unpopularity of the current governor — Democrat Kate Brown.
“Some observers have commented that Mr. Knight’s donation means he is ‘jumping ship’, but I have a more nuanced view,” he told The Daily Wire over email. “I think he remains a Betsy Johnson supporter, but he also supports Christine Drazan, because both represent a clean break from the Kate Brown era.”