In tonight's blog post I planned to focus on the curious case of Brad Nanke suddenly deciding that he wanted to run again to be the Ward 3 city councilor, even though back in September of last year he told the Statesman Journal that he wouldn't seek reelection in 2020.
Salem City Councilor Brad Nanke will not seek reelection in 2020, planning to cap a nearly two-decade run representing southeast Salem after his term concludes.
Nanke, in his fifth term on the council, has more than a year left to influence policy: His current term ends Dec. 31, 2020.
"Five is enough," he told the Statesman Journal on Thursday.
But an update to a Salem Reporter story by Saphara Harrell about who has filed to run in local races shows that at the last minute, Nanke changed his mind under pressure from somebody.
Trevor Phillips, a Salem Health emergency room doctor, is running against Brad Nanke for the ward that represents south and southeast Salem. Nanke, who has been a councilor for nearly two decades, gathered enough signatures to get on the ballot on Tuesday, March 10. When reached Monday, Nanke said he was pressured to run again.
My strong suspicion is that the Salem Chamber of Commerce, along with the Oregon Home Builders Association and Home Builders Association of Marion & Polk Counties, was part of the pressure. After all, Nanke works for the home builders associations, according to the Statesman Journal story.
He said he doesn't have any future political plans at the moment, but left the door open for future political involvement after he retires. Nanke works with the Oregon Home Builders Association and the Home Builders Association of Marion & Polk Counties.
Well, Trevor Phillips, Nanke's opponent in the Ward 3 race, shouldn't be shy about pointing out to voters that for six months Nanke showed no interest in running for another city council term. Then he did, under pressure. This doesn't show much commitment to representing the people who live in Ward 3.
What it shows is commitment to whoever pressured him to run again. Which likely wasn't his wife, as the September 2019 Statesman Journal story indicated.
In an interview, he said he likes to tell his wife, Denise, the dishes have been building up in the sink for 19 years, and he needs to take care of them.
..."It'd be nice to spend some time with the family,” Nanke said Thursday. He said he'd like to see his wife more often, and his son is getting married.
It's an open secret that the Salem Chamber of Commerce and related business groups is desperate for conservatives like Nanke to take back control of the City Council, which currently has a 6-3 progressive majority on the nine member council (eight councilors plus the Mayor).
So here's what's turned out to be the headline of this blog post rather than Nanke deciding to seek reelection: the Chamber of Commerce sure seems to be trying to hide a $25,000 contribution to its Create Jobs PAC from Mountain West Investment Corporation, a major builder based in Salem.
This person thought it was curious that the $25,000 Mountain West Investment contribution was made to the Create Jobs PAC, since the Salem Chamber of Commerce had been promoting a different PAC, the Build Jobs PAC, on its website.
Well, when I searched ORESTAR this evening for either the Create Jobs PAC or the Build Jobs PAC, neither PAC turned up. But using my blogger instinct, I typed in "Build Jobs" without the "PAC."
What turned up was a new Chamber of Commerce PAC, the Build Jobs Coalition. Its effective date was February 25, 2020.
And where did the Create Jobs Coalition get almost all of its money? Why, from the Create Jobs PAC -- namely, the $25,000 Mountain West Investment contribution that would have been completely disguised absent the screenshot I got, because according to ORESTAR the Chamber has shut down both the Create Jobs PAC and the Build Jobs PAC.
Now, I said in the title of this blog post that the Chamber is apparently trying to hide the $25,000 from Mountain West Investment. I used that word only because I can't be sure about the motivation of the Chamber of Commerce.
Maybe it just was a coincidence that a month after the $25,000 contribution was made to the Create Jobs PAC, the Chamber siphoned that money into a new PAC, then shut down the Create Jobs PAC, thereby making it very difficult for anyone to trace the source of the $25,000.
Maybe. But I doubt it.
My suspicion is that Brad Nanke's decision to seek reelection as the Ward 3 city councilor is linked to the $25,000 Mountain West Investment contribution. We know from the Salem Reporter story that Nanke was "pressured to run again." Some of that pressure may have included a commitment by the Chamber of Commerce to fund his campaign in a substantial way.
Currently Nanke doesn't have a election committee. At least, I wasn't able to find one on the ORESTAR system. So we'll have to wait and see if a donation is made to Nanke's reelection campaign by the Chamber's Create Jobs Coalition. If so, it will be clear that this money, in effect, came from Mountain West Investment.
Thus if this happens, Nanke, who works for two home builders associations, will have his campaign funded in large part by Salem's largest builder. Not a good look, for sure.