What's the definition of a bet in politics?
A candidate for the GOP nomination for governor, Jeff Smith, and the campaign manager for a rival candidate say they agreed to donate $100 to the other's campaign in the event that the rival wins the primary.
Is that a bet? Both say no.
Says David Gulliver, campaign manager for Sam Carpenter:
"I did NOT make a 'bet' on this race. In fact, in front of witnesses, I pointed out to Mr. Smith (a fringe candidate who polls at 2 percent) that gambling on political races is, in fact, against the law. However, after Mr. Smith repeatedly pressed me to take his 'bet,' I told him that IF he should win the primary, I would agree to donate $100 to his campaign, provided he would agree to donate $100 to Sam Carpenter when we are victorious. On this, we shook hands."
Smith, for his part, says their "wager" was not an "illegal bet."
When we asked the Secretary of State's Office about the situation at hand, SOS Dennis Richardson's chief of staff, Deb Royal, said her office could not answer specific questions about the law.
The Oregon Capital Insider also called up Portland attorney Harry Wilson, who said he couldn't comment on a specific situation, either, but pointed us toward a state statute, ORS 260.635, which says:
(1) No candidate shall make or become party to a bet of anything of pecuniary value on any event or contingency relating to a pending election. No candidate shall provide money or other thing of value to be used by any person in betting upon the results of a pending election.
(2) No person, to influence the result of any election, shall make a bet of anything of pecuniary value on the result of a pending election, or on any event relating to it.