Oregon political, biz leaders to host fundraiser for Illinois swing district candidate

Reps. Earl Blumenauer and Kurt Schrader have joined forces with the Neil Kelly clan to host a fundraiser on August 2 for Illinois Democrat Brendan Kelly.


The reception is part of a national "Swingleft" movement that strengthened after the 2016 presidential election. The goal is to direct energy and money from Democrats around the country to the candidates that will have the most impact in the 2018 midterm elections. 

Brendan Kelly, 41, is running for the seat of U.S. Rep Mike Bost, a Republican from Southern Illinois. 



One of the fundraiser co-hosts is Tom Kelly, chief of the Neil Kelly remodeling company. Kelly is active on Democratic policy issues and a couple of years ago founded the carbon pricing group, Oregon Business Alliance for Climate. 

His brother, Jim Kelly, is the founder of Rejuvenation Hardware. Susan Kelly, their sister, is a former staffer to Charlie Hales.

The tagline for the Brendan Kelly fundraiser reads: "Let's send a Kelly to Congress!"  

"It's kind of cute this Irish guy from Illinois is running," said Tom Kelly, who is of Irish descent. (Brendan is no relation.) "Obviously, those of us with a progressive bent are hoping to change Congress."

The Portland fundraiser will be held at the home of Carol Butler, a longtime Democratic political consultant who has worked for Gov. Kate Brown. She hosted a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton in 2015. 

"It [the fundraiser] is something that we do with some frequency — for both U.S. House and Senate candidates," Butler said in an email.  

The War Room: Veteran political consultant Carol Butler plays to win


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Linda Baker

Linda Baker is the editor of Oregon Business

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