Nicholas Kristof is captured during the session 'Redesign Your Cause' of the Annual Meeting 2010 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 30, 2010. Copyright by World Economic Forum swiss-image.ch/Photo by Monika Flueckiger

Friends in High Places

Nicholas Kristof’s campaign contributions has big names and big dollars

In his Oct. 28 visit to Eugene, the day after officially jumping into politics, former New York Times columnist and current gubernatorial candidate Nicholas Kristof said if voters wanted the same old government, they could vote for the usual politicians and lobbyists, but he’d provide different solutions in Salem. 

In less than two weeks, Kristof raised $1,010,999. 

Among the campaign contributors are big names, who have donated big money.  An analysis of Kristof’s fundraising offers a glimpse into his two worlds: as an Oregonian and a New Yorker. 

According to his OreStar filings with the Oregon Secretary of State’s office, the top three states where his donors live are: Oregon (173), California (77) and New York (69). Adding in donors from 28 other states shows that more than 50 percent of his individual donors don’t live in Oregon, though his campaign says in press releases that an Oregonian in nearly every county has donated. Across the U.S., most of his donors live in Portland (81), then New York City (41) and Eugene (21). Of the reported professions by all of his individual donors, 18 are CEOs, 12 are professors and 11 are attorneys. 

Going through the list of donors reveals some well-known names. 

The largest donations reported so far came from three people. Thomas Bernthal, who’s engaged to Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg and CEO of Kelton Global, donated $50,000. Melinda Gates donated $50,000. And self-described geeky ex-hacker turned investor David Cohen donated $50,000. 

Sizeable donations came from other notable people. Former Facebook Vice President Elliot Schrage donated $40,000. TV writer who penned Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Nell Scovell, donated $5,000. Businessman and author Mark Gerson, whose books include the Essential Neoconservative Reader, donated $25,000. Cathy Sulzberger, daughter of the former New York Times publisher Punch Sulzberger, donated $5,000. Belgian fashion designer Diane von Fürstenberg donated $5,000. And the Angeline Jolie Family Trust donated $10,000. 

The Eugene and Springfield area offers up some familiar names. Peg Straub, daughter of former Gov. Bob Straub, donated $500. Trial lawyer and real estate developer Dan Neal donated $5,000. And John Barofsky of Beppe and Gianni’s Trattoria who’s also active with local government committees gave $1,000. Roger Saydack, a lawyer who also served on the University of Oregon’s Bach Festival artistic director search, donated $2,500. Audra King, who according to the Oregon Secretary of State has been in business with Ed and Justin King, donated $10,000. 

The two high-profile Democrats in the primary race — Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read and House Speaker Tina Kotek — haven’t hit $1 million in fundraising yet. According to OreStar, Read has raised $485,886 and Kotek has raised $414,103.