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Kitzhaber Off To Big Fundraising Lead In Oregon Governor's Race

Incumbent Democrat John Kitzhaber (L) has built a sizeable fundraising lead over his likely Republican challenger Dennis Richardson.
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Incumbent Democrat John Kitzhaber (L) has built a sizeable fundraising lead over his likely Republican challenger Dennis Richardson.

The troubled roll-out of Oregon's health insurance exchange isn't hurting the state's governor when it comes to political fundraising.

Incumbent Democrat John Kitzhaber has staked out a sizeable lead over likely Republican challenger Dennis Richardson.

Kitzhaber has already brought in roughly four times as much cash as Richardson. In addition to that, his contributors are signing much bigger checks.

The GOP state representative was at somewhat of a disadvantage, though. He had to take a month off of fundraising this winter since Oregon House rules ban fundraising when the legislature is in session.

The two candidates have yet to face off in a debate and neither campaign has started airing ads. But you can expect to hear Richardson highlighting Kitzhaber's role in the state's struggling health insurance exchange, Cover Oregon. The governor says he's taking steps to get the exchange back on track.

In fact, some of his biggest checks have come from the healthcare industry.

Copyright 2014 Northwest News Network

Chris Lehman covers the Oregon state capitol for JPR as part of the Northwest News Network, a group of 12 Northwest public radio organizations which collaborate on regional news coverage. Chris graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He began his career producing arts features for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana and has been a reporter/announcer for NPR station WNIJ in DeKalb, Illinois. Chris has also reported from overseas, filing stories from Iraq, Burkina Faso, El Salvador, Northern Ireland, Zimbabwe and Uganda.
Chris Lehman
Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.