John Nelsen needs a bailout.

Carla Axtman

Nelsen_johnRunning in House District 49 against Democrat Nick Kahl (contribute to Nick here), Republican John Nelsen's C&E reports are starting to look like the balance sheet at Bear Stearns. Nelsen's debt is reaching financial bailout proportions.

The House Democrats have made note of Nelsen's troubles, starting with his campaign finance issues:

Michele Rossolo, the executive director of the Democrats' FuturePAC, said that Nelsen’s campaign figures, coupled with the Reynolds School District budget crisis, should make voters think twice about sending Nelsen (R-Wood Village) to Salem. On Thursday, Nelsen’s campaign had a balance deficit of $429,205.56, according to the latest ORESTAR figures.

"Now as we see him handle his campaign money, we see the same overspending; we see the same lack of accountability we saw on the school board. This is not the guy voters want to send to Salem in a budget crisis," Rossolo said in a statement. "It appears Nelsen is using the same accounting techniques in his campaign as he did as chair of the Reynolds School Board. And look, both of them are in a mess."

Nelsen's campaign responded...and that's where it gets weird:

Nelsen’s campaign manager Rebecca Tweed said that their current ORESTAR numbers were inaccurate. ORESTAR figures can be off on a minute by minute basis because a campaign can wait up to seven days before reporting a change in finance figures. Nelsen’s ORESTAR transactions also seemed to be missing a couple transactions outside of that seven-day period, including contributions from Oregon Concrete & Aggregate Producers Assn PAC and the Oregon Farm Bureau Political Action Committee, which both came on October 2.

Tweed said that she and several campaigns had been dealing with technical difficulties with the ORESTAR system, but state election officials said the system has been running smoothly.

October 2 is a long time ago, campaign finance-wise. I called the Sec. of State's office, and they seem pretty convinced that the system is working okay. The woman I spoke with says that a clog in the reporting system can happen, but that its always resolved within a day or two. The office says they don't know of anyone's reporting being hung up longer than that.

The whopping debt number reported in Politicker's story has been adjusted since it was reported. Nelsen's campaign is now just over $186k in the red. I believe that is due to a mistake made on a Nelsen expenditure report from October 16: $248,800 expense is now listed as $2488.

And with the two outstanding contributions that Nelsen's campaign cites in the Politicker piece, they're still deep in the red. The Oregon Concrete & Aggregate Producers Assn Pac contribution was $2000, and the PAC managed to report it. The Oregon Farm Bureau's contribution, also reported by them, was $4500. There's still $179k in outstanding debt.

I first saw Nelsen's big debt on Orestar on October 17 (I sent myself an email about it as a reminder). So this isn't a "minute-by-minute basis" accounting issue by Orestar, as Nelsen's campaign seems to allege.

It also seems pretty odd that the contributors can manage to get their stuff to work on Orestar, but Nelsen can't...for almost a month?

This seems very fishy.

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    I've been inputting items into ORESTAR without any problems. No crashes, no hangups, nothing. And I had quite a bit to input.

    I'm not surprised the campaign has spent so much - they've been sending a ton of mailers. And they haven't managed it very well - we get two mailers every time he sends something out by mail (one to my husband and I, one to my sister). Kahl's campaign, by comparison, sends one.

    I have a hard time electing anyone who can't take responsibility for the problems that occurred while he was an elected official. It's not as if he was just elected to the school board - he's been there for years. And these problems didn't just come up overnight, it's been years of the board not doing its job. I'm hearing from residents who live in the district that they're at the point of wanting to recall the entire board.

    Even if I hadn't known Nick Kahl for a few years now, I'd still be voting for him. Not only does he truly understand the needs of the district, he's the only candidate to have knocked on my door this election season.

  • YoungOregonMoonbat (unverified)

    You forgot to mention that John Nelsen was a member of the school board of the Reynolds School District, which has a budget deficit as well.

    In fairness, lets not forget that John Nelsen has been an advocate of underserved students for years and is the program director of Project YESS (Youth Employment Support Services) at Mt. Hood Community College.

    I can understand budget deficits so long as that money is utilized to help students who have traditionally been underserved.

    Crucify him all you want, but at least be fair and give a full picture of the man and not some shoddy, fallacious sketch that is all too prevalent in election years.

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    Also, could we maybe get a generic post about the election where we can post some of our thoughts? Like how disgusted I am with the recent McKeel mailer we got?

  • Gregor (unverified)

    He's a "borrow and spend" Republican and that's a surprise because...?

  • RW (unverified)

    Moonbat: it's nice to hear someone push back against the dehumanizing brink.

    REmember that these are PEOPLE we are pillorying. Not objects.

    Do your Buberistics looking in the mirror (forget that he was an anti-Semite) and just focus on his I/Thou object relations business until you can devote some empathy in the midst of your swingin' diatribes!

    I know, Chris pointed out that I can shred with the best. Howsomever: let's pull it back from the brink we are criticizing.

    NPR had a good piece tonight where a mixed race audience said the real stuff. THey stayed civil, and they got it started to be said. EVERYONE is afraid somewhere in there. ALL of it has to be respected and heard. They proved that if you could open yourself to do it, you got to the deeper fears, the magnificent ones of which you could be proud. But the trail to it was listening to the ones we are all judged for having if we speak them, and so we do not get that top layer of "base fear" peeled off to get to the deeper, most humanizing influences connected.

    It was good work on their part.

  • dramalessbo (unverified)


    Hardly, especially when you consider Nelsen is pleased to be endorsed by Oregon Right To Life and the Oregon Family Council.

    Any political candidate accepting those kinds of endorsements needs to bear some close srutiny. Especially when Nelsen is trying to appear to be such a nice guy and all.

    Bottom line, Nelsen is running a campaign on credit. Sounds like a familiar Republican theme.

    Oh BTW maybe, possibly, somebody should ask about Nelsen's tenure as a program director for YESS, I've heard rumblings that he didn't "resign" from the position. Just saying that maybe the voters should know about the circumstances that led to him leaving YESS.

  • dramalessbo (unverified)

    REmember that these are PEOPLE we are pillorying.

    That's so true and John should be told the same thing over and over. He has said he has GLBT family and freinds and that he appreciates not being called a hater.

    Unfortunately when you sleep with dogs, you are sure to get fleas.

    Nelson is being a total hypocrite when he tries to paint hemself as a moderate when he actually says he's proud to be endorsed by Oregon Right to Life and the Oregon Family Council. Karen Minnis was enough, we don't need another extreme conservative in HD 49.

    This has nothing to do with pillories, attacks, or otherwise. He's picked his positions and allies in this race, more of the same extreme social conservatism. I really don't want another Sal Esquival, Linda Flores, of Karen Minnis in the state legislaure. We saw where that went and don't need to see it in the future.

  • YoungOregonMoonbat (unverified)


    By your logic, then any Democrat who is endorsed by Planned Parenthood favors an increase in tax payer abortions to the extent that abortion replace condoms as the preferred method of contraception.

    By your logic, any Democrat who is endorsed by the Oregon Education Association supports the current 70 cents on every dollar going towards K-12 administration with only about 10 cents going to the classroom.

    By your logic, any Democrat who is endorsed by the Sierra Club is an anti-growth, anti-rural urban elitist who thinks that "rural" Oregon is their weekend playground and the miscreants who populate it are backward rednecks who need to move to the city and forget that their livelihood was taken from them by a bunch of urban nuts who care more about owls than people.

    The logic swings both ways if you know what I am saying ;)

  • JTT (unverified)

    70 cents on every dollar going towards K-12 administration with only about 10 cents going to the classroom.

    Evidence please. Oh that's right, because you don't have just completely made that up. I can make up statistics 110% of what YOM says is pure bullshit. See? Easy.

    Now back to the real topic of Nelson's failing campaign.

  • Angelina (unverified)

    "You forgot to mention that John Nelsen was a member of the school board of the Reynolds School District, which has a budget deficit as well." - YoungOregonMoonbat

    I think this is the best point.

  • Angelina (unverified)

    second comment represent the best point.

  • RW (unverified)

    I agree with you as to a person agreeing to take heat if they take a stand. Or a stance. Position as opposed to posturing, in my eyes.

    However, I've been impressed by Obama's aplomb. He does not lose it, vituperate, splutter, judder or vexate at his opponent's utterances. I have enjoyed his relative command of the campaign thought product on the hoof and in the moment.

    The most persuasive push-back you now can provide is a ... persuasive pushback instead of angry expostulations. I will be voting against hate measures and those that seek to wrest control of intimate decisionmaking away from women and their chosen partners.

    But I'll hope to not dehumanize the ones that seek to dehumanize me. Unless I am engaging in recreational shredding. In which case Chris will rein me in. AHEM.

  • Joe Nelson (unverified)

    Maybe the bail-out money could come from Obama after he's done buying the presidency. What's he raised $600million and refuses to disclose his overseas donors. What a crock. Just like this cheap shot article by one of BO "intellectual" progressives. HA!

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    You forgot to mention that John Nelsen was a member of the school board of the Reynolds School District, which has a budget deficit as well.

    Its in the piece. You'd need to read the excerpt from the Politicker story in order to see it.

    Perhaps next time I'll excerpt less and write up more. I'm wondering if people have a tendency to skip over the excerpts..?

  • young and maybe stupid (unverified)

    Ok so just a little curious here. If Nelsons donors are able to report their donations, and he doesn't report them in the time limit, set by Oregon law, isn't that a violation with serious consequences? After my quick peek at ORESTAR It looks like there are donations more than 30 days past when they needed to be reported.

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    young and maybe stupid:

    Depending on when those donations were made, the time period for reporting them varies (the closer to the election, the shorter the reporting period).

    There are indeed consequences for not reporting items on time, which includes some pretty serious fines.

    I haven't had any problems with ORESTAR, Nelsen's donors haven't had any problems reporting it, and I haven't heard from anyone else about any problems with ORESTAR.

    Now, there will be some downtime late tonight, early tomorrow, but that's for some scheduled maintenance.

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    OEA isn't really about increasing spending on school administration. Actually that's usually who they're bargaining against.

    Your Planned Parenthood analogy is misplaced. The proper comparison would be a candidate who claimed to be anti-abortion/"pro-life" but was proud to be endorsed by Planned Parenthood and NARAL.

    It's not about the endorsement, it's about the response to it. Saying you're proud to be endorsed by a group is also endorsing them in return. John Nelsen is endorsing a group (Oregon Family Council) that promotes bigotry against LGBT people.

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    YoungOregonMoonbat: By your logic, you can impute any position to a group, whether they've taken it or not, and then use that position to attack them. It's a classic propaganda technique/rhetorical fallacy that I was taught about in high school English, the strawman. If that's the best you can do, I can understand why you don't post under your actual name.

  • Reynolds Parent (unverified)

    These comments are creating a cesspool mentality. At least get your fact straight folks. Nelsen is the only Reynolds board member from the original group who hired the former superintendent who changed his mind about the guy when he was presented with the facts!

    Their board was making decisions based on bad info being provided by the previous administration. Once they found out Nelsen and the board went after it agressively and publically. They hired objective people to answer to them and are conducting investigations so they can take further actions. It's happened to Multnomah County folks recently too. Check out the issue of the Justice Center and don't even get me talking about problems at the state level.

    Hmmmm... sounds suspciously like Nelsen is holding people accountable even if it might cost him votes in this race.

    At least he's doing what's right instead of what's easy. For sure he didn't try to sweep it under the rug but instead stood up as a public steward of the funds.

    I am only one of many who are watching closely that think his actions show true leadership. If anyone can argue for education reform in Salem it will be Nelsen.

  • Ms Mel Harmon (unverified)

    I'm so tired of saying this to Nelsen's supporters that I'm starting to think I should put it on an endless loop and just walk around repeating it ad nauseum:

    You do not get to take credit for cleaning up the mess when you helped create the mess in the first place. Period. To run around saying "look at me...I'm fixing the mess in Reynolds" when you are responsible for that mess is beyond annoying.

    Nelsen was one of the Board that hired the Superintendent. The Board was irresponsible in that it did not have independent audits to verify the rosy scenario they were being given. The Board is ultimately responsible and yes, it's great they are stepping up. But to claim that Nelsen would be good for education reform because he helped over a Board that was irresponsible in its duties to the extent that the district is millions in debt is ridiculous.

    And it's beside the point of this post---which is why is Nelsen's campaign having so much trouble reporting their finances to the Secretary of States office? Why do the records show them to be nearly $200,000 in the hole? And do we want someone whose two major involvements (school board and campaign) of late have involved unresolved financial issues? No thank you. Salem has enough issues around fiscal responsibility without adding John Nelsen to the mix.

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