PACIFIC COUNTY — While some of the candidates in this year’s contested elections are campaigning on a shoestring, others have raised tens of thousands of dollars.
Their campaign money comes from individual contributors, businesses, political committees and their own pockets, according to reports from the state’s Public Disclosure Commission.
The amounts shown are what candidates raised as of July 11, unless otherwise noted.
Washington’s campaign finance rules are so complicated that even seasoned political operatives goof them up. There are complex contribution limits, strict reporting requirements and lots of deadlines.
In recent years, partisan activists have begun reporting errors on candidates’ reports to the Public Disclosure Commission. As a result, some candidates, including former 19th Legislative District candidate Teresa Purcell, have been hit with massive fees.
Candidates who are running small campaigns can avoid these pitfalls by choosing the “mini-reporting” option. Unlike those who raise more, candidates who raise $5,000 or less don’t have to file contribution and expenditure reports. The convenience comes at the cost of transparency — the public doesn’t get to find out who is paying for their campaigns, or how they’re spending the money.
Several candidates in the 2018 primary chose the mini-reporting option, including all three candidates for PUD commissioner.
Democrat Pebbles Williams chose the mini-reporting option. Republican Mike Runyon and Independent Todd Stephens went for the full-reporting option. However, according to PDC, Runyon has not filed any reports yet, because he has not raised or spent any money. All of Stephens’ money came out of his own bank account. In May, he gave himself three loans, totaling $1,895.
Incumbent Prosecutor Mark McClain chose a mini-campaign. He was elected in 2014 on the strength of a mini-campaign. His former employee and opponent Eric Weston also chose the mini-option. Pamella Nogueira-Maneman chose a full campaign.
So far, Nogueira Maneman has raised $3,320. She also gave herself five loans, totaling $3,500. In all, she has received 17 contributions, with an average donation of $195. Her largest donor is Marla Schaefer, an Ocean Park accountant who contributed to several candidates. Schaefer gave Nogueira Maneman $1,000.
Nogueira Maneman has spent $3,788 on office supplies, campaign signs, bills and other incidental expenses.
Democratic incumbent Scott Johnson raised $1,265, compared to Independent challenger Souvenir’s $1,751 and Republican deputy Sean Eastham’s $7,500.
In all, Johnson received 17 contributions, averaging $74 each. Souvenir received nine contributions averaging $195 and Eastham received 56 contributions, averaging $134. Nearly all of their money came from individual donors.
Johnson’s biggest contribution to date is $300 that he gave himself. His second biggest contribution was $150 from Jack and Susan Handley of Cosmopolis. He has not borrowed any money. So far, he has spent $213.
Souvenir gave himself $500, and loaned himself $2,000. His biggest contributor, other than himself, is Bradley Gunderson of Duvall, Wash., who gave him $500. So far, he has spent $2,259.
Eastham’s most generous supporter so far is his uncle, South Bend Police Chief Dave Eastham, who gave him $1,000. Eastham’s wife Jammie gave him $500. Eastham lent himself $1,000. In all, five members of the Eastham family gave him $2,100.
He also received $500 contributions from John Talvitie, a Long Beach resident who has made several contributions to local candidates, and Milt Gudgell, owner of Pacific Salmon Charters. Several Pacific Salmon employees, including two of Gudgell’s sons, have unresolved criminal court cases, stemming from alleged poaching of halibut on chartered fishing trips.
Eastham has spent $4,407.
19th LD State Rep, Position One
One-term incumbent Rep. Jim Walsh (R-Aberdeen) has raised $65,214, while his challenger, Democrat Erin Frasier, has raised $50,484. Walsh had 213 contributions, averaging $306 each, while Frasier had 261 contributions, averaging $193.
State legislature candidates usually get their biggest checks from Political Action Committees (PACs) and industry groups. In Walsh’s case, individuals gave the most, followed closely by PACs and then businesses. Frasier’s campaign has gotten half of its money from individual contributors. Industry groups and PACs chipped in about a third of her money, and the rest came from loans to herself and other sources.
Walsh’s biggest contributor so far is the Cowlitz County Republican Central Committee, which gave him $1,500. Several other supporters have given him a total of $2,000 each. These include the Washington Association of General Contractors, Premera Blue Cross, STRAT-PAC, a group of Washington debt-collection companies, and the Washington Collectors Association, a debt collection industry group.
Several industry groups have given Walsh $1,000. He has strong support in the timber, housing, construction, trucking, and insurance sectors. His major donors also include members of the Quigg family, which owns an Aberdeen construction company, and Yin Ta-Hung, manager of Washington Tower Farm, a Hoquiam marijuana producer and processor.
Walsh has given himself about $1,100. He has not taken out any loans. So far, he has spent $26,080.
Erin Frasier’s biggest contributor is the House Democratic Campaign Committee, which gave her $10,000. She has received $2,000 each from Jabe Blumenthal, a wealthy Seattle conservationist who developed Microsoft Excel, and the Harry Truman Fund, a Democratic PAC. The Truman Fund receives its money from labor groups, tribal groups and corporations, including Microsoft and Walgreens.
Frasier has also received significant contributions from several union groups; Peter Goldman, a Seattle attorney and environmental activist and Tiffany Turner, a Seaview resident and hotelier.
Frasier gave herself $2,980. She has not borrowed any money. So far, she has spent $20,060.
To date, Frasier is the only legislative candidate who has been the benefactor of independent expenditures — money that PACs spend to promote candidates they like. Mainstream Voters of Washington spent $60,000 to hire a Washington D.C. firm that produces campaign ads.
It can be difficult to trace the real sources of money that fund PACS. For instance, Mainstream Voters received much of its money from two other PACs: Justice For All and New Direction. Justice For All is a pro-civil justice group that receives much of its money from wealthy individual donors. New Direction is heavily funded by the Harry Truman and Kennedy Funds, unions, conservation groups and Planned Parenthood.
19th LD State Rep, Position One
Incumbent Rep. Brian Blake (D-Aberdeen) has raised $69,935. Republican challenger Joel McEntire has raised $6,159, $5,000 of which came from the House Republican Organizational Committee. David Parsons, also a Republican, has raised nothing and spent nothing to date, according to PDC reports. Blake received money from 121 contributions, averaging $578 each, while McEntire received 10 contributions, averaging $616.
Blake gets the vast majority of his money from PACs, followed closely by businesses. Less than 10 percent of his contributions came from individuals. Contributors who gave Blake $2,000 include beer company Anheuser-Busch, the Harry Truman Fund, the Washington State Auto Dealers Association and the Washington Beverage Association, a bottled drink industry group that fights soda taxes and efforts to make nutrition labels more detailed. Like Walsh, Blake receives strong support from debt collectors. Frasier and Blake are both supported by the Washington Education Association, a teachers union. Agricultural, auto-manufacturing, insurance, logging and trucking industry groups also donated to Blake. So did several union groups.
Among Blake’s $1,000 contributors is Altria Client Services, the holding company for Philip Morris, the biggest cigarette manufacturer in the U.S. Altria also owns a cigar and pipe tobacco company, a chewing tobacco company and a company that makes e-cigarettes. Blake has taken numerous other donations from the tobacco company in the past.
Blake has taken no loans. So far, he has spent about $2,960.
Joel McEntire gave himself $477. His biggest individual donation was $200 from Luanne VanWerven, a sate representative from Lynden. He has not borrowed any money. So far, he has spent about $4,100.