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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Big Bucks Pour In For Oregon Ballot Measure Campaigns

Matt Howry

Oregon’s ballot measure campaigns are continuing to pull in big-money donations.

The campaign to pass a recreational marijuana law similar to Washington’s got a big financial boost over the weekend. Even the less flashy top-two primary measure is rolling in out-of-state money.

The group behind the marijuana legalization measure has taken in more than $2 million. Much of that has been from a pair of East Coast advocacy groups. And it's allowed the Yes on 91 campaign to blanket the airwaves with ads.

Their newest one features a face that's perhaps more familiar to Washington voters: King County Sheriff John Urquhart.

"Strict regulations are working,” he says in the ad. “Here, it's really better already. It's your vote, not mine. But it's working here."

Another big money campaign is the one in support of a Top Two primary. It's raked in about $3 million. A good chunk of that has come from two out-of-state billionaires including former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg. Opponents of Measure 90 have raised a half-million, largely from public employee unions.

The leading ballot measure campaign in terms of funding continues to be Measure 92. It would require food manufacturers and retailers to label genetically engineered foods. The two sides have combined for a record-setting haul of more than $17 million.