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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Ron Tonkin Says Mannix Aide Contacted Him About Recall "Six Or Seven Weeks Ago"

Posted by Matt Davis on Wed, Nov 11, 2009 at 10:12 AM

More disturbing news suggesting state-wide conservatives have hijacked the second effort to recall Mayor Sam Adams. Auto dealer Ron Tonkin says he was contacted by Jack Kane, a long-time aide to former Republican gubernatorial candidate Kevin Mannix, just as the grass roots effort was failing on October 5.

RECALL RECALL: BEING HIJACKED BY STATE CONSERVATIVES
  • RECALL RECALL: BEING HIJACKED BY STATE CONSERVATIVES

"He has been the person who contacted me about the recall and about supporting it," says Tonkin, referring to Kane. "I've had some emails from him and we have gone back and forth."

Tonkin, speaking to the Mercury last night from his winter home in Indian Wells, California—a town with the highest proportion of millionaires of any city in the United States—says he has already written a check for an undisclosed amount to the new effort.

MANNIX (LEFT): OREGON'S MR LIBERAL, 2009
  • MANNIX (LEFT): OREGON'S MR LIBERAL, 2009

The timing of Kane's approach to Tonkin—"about six or seven weeks ago"—would suggest that not only does Mannix's signature gathering firm stand to earn between $150,000 and $300,000 from collecting signatures for the second recall effort, as we reported late last week, but that Mannix's long-time aide has been coordinating it from the start.

Tonkin hasn't been to any of the strategy meetings, he says, adding that he doesn't know the depth of Kane's involvement in the effort. "I'm concerned that there is so much unrest, that Adams' credibility is suspect, and a lot of people have been very restless over this," he says.

So many, that the grass roots effort couldn't even get the targeted 50,000 signatures in three months?

"One way of the other, this will end it," says Tonkin, of the second effort. "I doubt that they are going to have the same problem this time with not getting enough signators."

Tonkin did not know of Kane's political background or involvement with Mannix when he wrote the check, he says. "He asked me if I would support the effort, and I said yes. This is a more concerted effort."

"What's important to me is, if the people want to re-vote, or make their feelings known, and there's as much unrest as there is, then I feel they should have that right to make their wishes known," Tonkin continues. "I do feel that where there's smoke, there's fire, and there's been an awful lot of smoke around this issue."

Homophobia has "absolutely nothing to do with it," says Tonkin. "What a person's persuasion is is their business, not mine."

Mannix's statewide political efforts have run the gamut from "anti-obscenity" measures, to killing taxes on the rich and corporations, to mandatory minimum sentences for drug addicts without the option of treatment over the years. If he is indeed backing the new recall effort, then he will have some strange political bedfellows: Political science student Jasun Wurster launched the first campaign to recall Adams in the wake of the Breedlove scandal, but has now taken a back seat to former Democratic turned Independent State Senator Avel Gordly, who announced her role as spokesperson for the new effort in the Oregonian in late October.

TONKIN: SIGNS CHECKS
  • TONKIN: 'SIGNED' RECALL 2 CHECK

Wurster told the Mercury “I’m just the volunteer coordinator,” and repeatedly refused to answer questions about Mannix and Kane’s involvement in the new effort when contacted by phone last week. “I’ve gotta go,” he said, ending the conversation. Wurster also gave the Mercury a number for a "media spokesperson," Mary Volm, that went straight to voicemail and has yet to be returned. He declined to distance himself from Mannix and Kane, if they are indeed behind the new effort.

Other would-be members of the recall recall have all been conspicuously press-shy over recent weeks. Mannix’s assistant told the Mercury he was “out of town” when we called his Salem office this week. Gordly did not return repeated messages left on her cell phone, seeking comment. Meanwhile, Columbia Sportswear CEO Tim Boyle “is traveling right now and will be for the next couple weeks, so is not able to talk to you for your story,” wrote his public relations manager, Leslie Constans, in an email on Monday, November 8.

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