“Mini Donald Trump” Sets Off Race To The Right In Oregon Gubernatorial Primary

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Carpenter Comes Out of the Gate Swinging at Fellow Republicans

 Sam Carpenter, a self-described “Trump-ish kind of guy,” jumped into Oregon’s gubernatorial race this week, officially igniting a race to the right as he swings at his fellow Republicans. Carpenter previously ran for Senate and has the ability to self-fund a serious primary campaign, but his views put him far outside the mainstream of Oregon’s general election electorate. 

Among his various extreme positions, Carpenter supports banning some forms of birth control, eliminating Pell Grants that help low and middle-income students afford college, and opposes marriage equality. And while his status as a “mini Donald Trump” may help Carpenter with Republican primary voters, the President’s approval ratings are dramatically underwater in Oregon as a whole. 

In the race for less than a week, Carpenter’s already lashing out at his opponents and pushing them to the right. And Knute Buehler is veering rightward, staking out an extreme position on gun safety to appeal to the Republican primary electorate.

“Using his name ID and fortune to drag the entire Republican field to the right, Sam Carpenter really will help ‘make Oregon great again’ by ensuring the reelection of Governor Kate Brown,” said DGA Communications Director Jared Leopold. “His extreme views are out of step with the people of Oregon but sure to cause major fireworks in the Republican primary.”  



An Alleged Former Carpenter Employee Said He Was “Just Like A Mini Donald Trump.” In April 2016, Hollee Wilson, an alleged former Carpenter employee, posted to Facebook: “Sam is just like a mini Donald Trump. If you like Trump’s style you will love Sam’s.” [KTVZ Facebook, 4/27/16]

Carpenter Called Himself A “Trump-Ish Kind Of Guy.” According to Real Clear Politics, “Sam Carpenter is a businessman running in a four-way primary to challenge Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden, who won all three of his previous re-elections by comfortable double-digit margins. Carpenter called himself a ‘Trump-ish kind of guy’ and said that while some have agonized over the billionaire’s rise, many have missed the reasons that precipitated it.” [Real Clear Politics, 3/31/16]

Carpenter Said He Believed Life Began At Conception; “I’m A Full… Spectrum Conservative. I’ll Tell You That Right From The Beginning. As Far As Life-It’s From Conception.” During a Medford GOP Senate candidate forum, Carpenter said, “I’m a full, full bore, full spectrum conservative. I’ll tell you that right from the beginning. As far as life-it’s from conception. And on down the line, I think you understand where I am and I don’t need to spend time on it.” [Medford GOP Senate Candidate Forum, 3/1/16]

Carpenter Said Federal Subsidies For Higher Education Were “Government Intrusion In The Higher Education Market.”

Carpenter: Federal Subsidies For Higher Education “Makes Higher Education Less Accessible.” In February 2016, Carpenter posted to Facebook, “A large percentage of rising tuition costs are directly explained by increased subsidies. In other words, artificially driving up demand for 4-year degrees drives up the cost of those degrees, which means more student loans, more debt. The result? Fewer students enroll. Ultimately, government intrusion in the higher education market makes higher education LESS accessible.” [Carpenter for Senate Facebook, 2/16/16]

Carpenter Said He Supported Dismantling The U.S. Department Of Education. Carpenter responded “Yes” to a candidate questionnaire that asked, “Do you support dismantling the U.S. Department of Education?” [Oregon Abigail Adams Questionnaire, 4/19/16] 

Eliminating Federal Department Of Education Would Eliminate Tens Of Billions In Federal Pell Grants Administered By The Department

ThinkProgress: Without U.S. Department Of Education “We Wouldn’t Have A Federal Department To Administer Pell Grants To Students.” According to ThinkProgress, “The Department of Education’s responsibilities include gathering data to assess how well certain programs and grants are working, awards Pell grants federal financial aid through loans and provides oversight over state policies to prevent discrimination. We wouldn’t have a federal department to administer Pell Grants to students.” [ThinkProgress, 5/13/15] 

The U.S. Department Of Education Provided Over $30 Billion In Pell Grant Aid To More Than 8 Million Students In Fiscal Year 2013-2014. According to data from the U.S. Department of Education, it provided over $30 billion in Pell grant aid to more than 8 million students in fiscal year 2013-2014. [2013-2014 Federal Pell Grant Program End-of-Year Report, accessed 3/1/16]

Carpenter Said He Opposed The Court Decision To Overturn Oregon’s Constitutional Ban On Same-Sex Marriage. Carpenter responded “oppose” to an Oregon Family Council questionnaire that asked, “Do you support or oppose the court’s decision to overturn Oregon’s Constitutional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman?” [Oregon Family Council Questionnaire, accessed 4/25/16]

Carpenter Said He Opposed The Supreme Court’s Decision Upholding Same-Sex Marriage. Carpenter responded “No” to a candidate questionnaire that asked, “Do you support the Supreme Court’s decision upholding same-sex marriage?” [Oregon Abigail Adams Questionnaire, 4/19/16]

Carpenter said that Buehler was Not Enough in Line with Trump’s Agenda. According to KTVZ, “One of them is Sam Carpenter, who just announced he is running for governor. Carpenter is branding himself as the Trump voters’ choice, saying one of his opponents, Rep. Knute Buehler, also of Bend does not fall enough in line with the president’s agenda.” [KTVZ, 10/27/17]

“Buehler Was Pessimistic that there is a Legislative Answer to Gun Violence.” According to The Bulletin, “Buehler was pessimistic that there is a legislative answer to gun violence. ‘I understand the instinct to turn to new laws to prevent mass shootings,’ Buehler said in an email. ‘I will keep an open-mind to ideas that enhance public safety while respecting the Constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.’ Buehler said he supports improving community mental health care to help people before they become violent or suicidal. He also wants to strengthen enforcement of laws that bar criminals from possessing guns. But Buehler said he believed mass murder would continue with or without new legislation. ‘Unfortunately, evil exists in our world and deranged madmen won’t be deterred by another new law no matter how well-intended,’ Buehler said.” [The Bulletin, 10/3/17]