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Kelly Asay

Kelly Asay

Kelly Asay is an entrepreneur, software developer and performing musician. As the publisher of Eugene Daily News, Asay is continually searching, finding and promoting the best unknown journalists, photographers and inspirational people from all over Lane County.
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THE CURIOUS CASE OF JACOB DANIELS

There aren’t many people who can say they work at the upper echelons of politics. That they participate in local politics. That they own their own law firm. That they represent notable clients throughout the State. That they are an equity partner in a recently launched research firm (that has already nabbed big clients). That they work remotely at a Washington, D.C. consulting firm from their office across the country in Creswell, Oregon, or as Jacob Daniels would prefer, from his couch in Creswell, Oregon.

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Not many people do these things. But if they do, they certainly don’t do them at the same time, and if they are doing them at the same time, they don’t do it all by the age of 30…, unless you are Jacob Daniels.

Daniels is a friend of mine, and although I have always enjoyed watching him energetically operate, I never thought that it was newsworthy.

But last week I saw Daniels’ name appear in the news on three different fronts: On the cover of The Oregonian regarding a large political operation; both the Register-Guard and The Eugene Daily News reported that Daniels has been recently retained in a high-profile manslaughter case; and oddly enough, a ballot measure that Daniels had written in his hometown of Creswell had failed, receiving 44 percent of the vote.

Sure, sometimes I see Daniels on the news giving a legal opinion or talking about politics, but that’s just Daniels, he is always out there trying to get something done.

But it seems like this guy is in a real hurry to get things done.

Depending on what side you are on, you either think that Daniels is doing the Lord’s work, or you think he is the Devil. But regardless, he gets things done. I know, because I have been watching my friend for a long time.

Daniels is very proud that he attended Tulane Law School. You don’t have to spend much time with him before you hear from him that he went to Tulane. To some people, it comes across as arrogant. But if you know Daniels, you know that he is just a guy born in Cottage Grove, Oregon who can’t believe he has a seat at the table.

Following his graduation from Tulane Law School, Daniels returned home to work as the Deputy Research Director to former NBA star Chris Dudley’s 2010 campaign for Oregon Governor. On election night it looked like Dudley was going to become Oregon’s next Governor, but by morning John Kitzhaber had taken a narrow lead over Dudley and won a third term as Oregon’s Governor.

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But then Kitzhaber turned around and appointed Daniels to the Governor’s Small Business Advisory Council at the age of twenty-five, and Daniels began to explore running for public office himself.

In 2012, at twenty-six years old, Daniels decided he wanted to join the Oregon House of Representatives. He entered the 2012 GOP primary for Oregon House District 11 against the popular Kelly Lovelace, who had spent his life running businesses in the district and working in the grass fields that serve as the backbone of Linn County’s economy. Daniels didn’t win that race, but he knocked on just about every single door in the legislative district, raised tens of thousands of dollars, and lost the race by 256 votes.

Following that race, Daniels was appointed to the City Council of Creswell, ran for election and earned a full term on the City Council. Daniels was subsequently elected twice as the City Council President. But Daniels didn’t feel he was a good fit on the Council.

In written answers to questions sent to Daniels, he wrote: “I left the Council because I was ticked-off about the passage of a budget. I got up and left during a meeting. While exiting I proclaimed that I was resigning. Looking back, I am really disappointed with the way I handled my exit. In hindsight I should have sat through the meeting and tendered my resignation the following day in writing. It had been a culmination of things. I believe that government should be inconsequential in our lives. I’m not anti-government. I just have a different outlook on government. In essence, I realized that a guy who wants to shrink government has no business running a government. There are a couple places for people with my outlook on government, such as lobbying tired Congressmen in the Rayburn Building [Editor’s note: The Rayburn Building is one of the major office buildings for members of Congress] and fighting it out in the courtrooms.”

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During Daniels’ brief flirtation with public office he started his own law practice, began handling family law and criminal cases, and continued his work in politics. Daniels earned a niche as a hardline researcher who found tiny pieces of evidence necessary to push numerous state legislators across the finish line to election or re-election. According to public campaign finance reports, Daniels now serves as general legal counsel to the political arm of the Oregon House Republicans.

Daniels and some of his research colleagues recently launched a firm called Oregon Research Consultants, LLC. In response to written questions, Daniels wrote: “I am very excited about Oregon Research Consultants. We have already finished our first project and we have a great team in place. Due to time constraints I am a minority owner of the firm, so I don’t speak on behalf of the firm, but we have nabbed a couple great clients and I expect good things.”

Those research skills became very important in former Representative Dennis Richardson’s 2014 campaign for Governor. Daniels came on as the campaign attorney and chairman of the debate preparation team and worked diligently to help Richardson connect the dots in the John Kitzhaber/Cylvia Hayes scandal – which included the campaign sending a letter to the FBI and United States Attorney urging a criminal investigation.

As the Kitzhaber/Hayes scandal began to grow, Daniels filed a petition to recall Governor Kitzhaber, at the age of twenty-nine.

For the few weeks following his effort to recall Governor Kitzhaber, both Daniels and national political operative Charlie Pearce eagerly poured flames on the fire with both the local press and national media outlets including NPR, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, etc.

It is safe to say that Jacob Daniels has earned his spot at the table. The big question to ask is pretty simple. “What’s next?”

According to Daniels, “I just want my driver Patrick Dills to win the Championship on Saturday night at Cottage Grove Speedway.”

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