By HEATHER ROBERTS
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
It’s a four-way contest for U.S. Senate in Oregon, but the race has been relatively quiet.
Incumbent Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) says it could be the first time candidates for the seat haven’t bought any television airtime in a general election.
However, the two major-party candidates are active on social media.
According to campaign materials, Republican challenger Jo Rae Perkins is a retired insurance agent from Albany, with 14 grandchildren.
On Twitter, she posts frequently in support of President Trump and “Cue” — a common reference to QAnon — and is critical of what she calls “the mainstream media”. Perkins refused our request for an interview, citing her busy schedule.
Incumbent Senator Jeff Merkley says Perkins is not a serious challenger.
He tells Central Oregon Daily, “The Republican nominee hasn’t raised funds. I’m certainly not going to help give her publicity for QAnon, this bizarre conspiratorial thesis of cannibalistic group imprisoning children.”
Perkins has raised just over $90,000 since the start of her campaign, nearly $12,000 of her own money; much of the rest is from the conservative fundraising platform WinRed, according to Federal Election Commission filings.
She has about $35,000 in what’s considered “cash on hand,” compared to Merkley’s nearly $4 million.
He’s so confident of his position, he’s not focused on his own funding.
“I’m spending all my fundraising time, virtually all of it, on raising money, both for turnout in Oregon State — that’s called the Coordinated Campaign — and for raising money for folks who are running for senate seats across the country,” Merkley said.
According to Merkley’s FEC finance records, the only advertising money spent by his campaign is on social media and postal services.
Merkley has served in the Senate since 2009 and sits on the Appropriations, Environment, Foreign Relations and Budget Committees. A Libertarian Engineer and a self-employed member of the Green party are also running against Merkley.