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Billionaires fail to purchase blue-state governorships

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And in the end, all Phil Knight did was set a ton of money on fire:

Democrat Tina Kotek has won the race for Oregon governor, defeating Republican Christine Drazan.

It was a hard-fought and expensive win by Democrats, who have a huge party registration advantage in Oregon but faced strong headwinds this year amid voter frustration at problems including homelessness, violent crime and lackluster delivery of government programs and services.

­As of 11 a.m. Wednesday, Kotek was ahead of Drazan by 30,000 votes, the state’s tally showed. And Multnomah County had yet to tabulate results from 80,000 ballots it has logged as received by 10 a.m. Wednesday, state and county websites showed. With Multnomah voters favoring Kotek over Drazan by a better than 70% to 30% margin, those untallied votes in Oregon’s biggest, bluest county can be expected to add another 30,000 votes to Kotek’s lead, The Oregonian/OregonLive projects.

The key here is that the Republican cat’s paw vanity candidate Knight used as a stalking horse before switching to supporting Drazan outright dropped from the mid-teens to high single digits, and to win Republicans needed something more like the former. Closer than one would like, but still a nice win over plutocratic power.

Meanwhile, in New York another billionaire invested tons of money into an MAGA Republican for the pettiest possible reasons:

Ronald S. Lauder, a 78-year-old cosmetics heir, philanthropist and art collector who is among the richest men in New York, has become the most prolific state political donor in memory this fall, fueling a Republican’s surging candidacy for governor in one of the country’s most liberal states.

Mr. Lauder has long been a gale-force disrupter, throwing millions of dollars behind conservative causes and candidates, including creating term limits in New York City and even his own failed mayoral campaign. Now at the twilight of his public life, he is marshaling his multibillion-dollar fortune behind an extraordinary intervention into this week’s midterm elections.

As a lead donor to two super PACs, he has spent more than $11 million to date trying to put Representative Lee Zeldin, a Trump-aligned Republican, in the governor’s mansion. Millions of dollars more, some of it not previously reported, have gone to successful legal and public relations campaigns to stop Democrats from gerrymandering the state’s congressional districts.

[…]

But some around Mr. Lauder have another, less charitable theory for what is driving his push to elect Mr. Zeldin. For years now, Mr. Lauder and his wealthy neighbors in Wainscott, a hamlet in the Hamptons, have been fighting to stop the state from allowing a wind-powered transmission cable to run near their properties.

Last October, just months after Ms. Hochul took office, Mr. Lauder hosted the new governor at his Park Avenue duplex for dinner. For Ms. Hochul, it was a chance to make nice with one of the city’s most powerful people. Mr. Lauder used it as an opportunity to talk about the wind farm, according to two people familiar with the conversation.

The project is currently going ahead as planned, part of Ms. Hochul’s ambitious effort to decarbonize the state.

Lauder did not lose as unequivocally as Knight because his role in getting Cuomo’s conservative Court of Appeals to unilaterally disarm on gerrymandering may well have saved the House for Republicans. But at any rate fuck NIMBYs and fuck Nike.

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