Doug Breidenthal has racked up a $45,420 deficit in his campaigns to win a Jackson County commissioner seat, using the money in part to pay for an ad that his opponent Jeff Scroggin says takes aim at his military record.
According to the Oregon Secretary of State's Office, Breidenthal, a Medford Republican, said the deficit consists of outstanding debts and a $20,000 loan he made to his own campaign.
Scroggin, a Medford Democrat, said he will not deficit-spend to run his own campaign or use attack ads. State election officials say they have the Scroggin campaign with a $4,507 balance.
"I believe that how an individual runs a campaign reflects how he will serve when elected," Scroggin said.
Breidenthal said the deficit partly is attributable to estimates of what he intends to spend in the final weeks of the campaign. He also anticipates more donations will come in to balance the ledger.
"There are a lot of people committed to pledging dollars still," he said. "With the commitments, we should be zeroed out at the back end of this thing."
Part of the recent debt — more than $25,000 — was incurred by Breidenthal from Impact Marketing, co-founded by Bruce Hough and state Rep. Sal Esquivel. Impact Marketing prepares advertising and helps with campaign fundraising.
Another part of the deficit is a $20,000 loan made by Breidenthal to his campaign during his unsuccessful 2010 bid for a Jackson County commissioner seat.
To date, Scroggin leads slightly in campaign cash contributions, with almost $46,000, compared with Breidenthal at about $40,000.
Breidenthal used some of his campaign dollars to buy an ad in the Mail Tribune Sunday that in part minimizes Scroggin's military experience. The ad was paid for by Friends of Doug Breidenthal at 1214 Stowe Ave. — the same address as Impact Marketing.
Scroggin said he will not apologize for serving four tours of duty in South Korea, where he achieved the rank of staff sergeant in the U.S. Army.
"I'm proud of my service overseas," he said. "He's wrong when he says military experience doesn't count as experience."
Breidenthal defends the ad, which says Scroggin has "no" experience, and then lists Scroggin's five years of military service and two years working in Sen. Alan Bates' office.
"I would say most staff sergeants have experienced two or three tours of duty," Breidenthal said. "This is a normal thing in the military."
Breidenthal said he is not trying to diminish Scroggin's military career, but he does think Scroggin's experience falls short of his own business career.
"He embellishes a lot of his career and makes it more than it is," Breidenthal said.
However, in the same ad, Breidenthal claims he ran Jackson County Builders Inc. from 1995 to 2008, but the Oregon Secretary of State shows the business actually started in 1999 and ended in 2003, prior to the economic crash.
Breidenthal said he had several businesses at the time that were related, but added that he didn't review the ad carefully before it was printed.
"I didn't see all of it," he said.
Breidenthal's ad also noted that Scroggin has lived in Jackson County for only two years, owns no property, is not married and has no children.
Scroggin said he spent five years overseas in the military then went to the University of Oregon, so it would have been difficult for him to spend more time here.
Otherwise, he said, he wouldn't comment on Breidenthal's ads.
"My opponent is into debt and stretching the truth," Scroggin said. "Why would the public expect you to act any different once you're in office?"
Damian Mann is a reporter for the Mail Tribune. He can be reached at 541-776-4476 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.