SOUTHWEST WASHINGTON — For the past several months — and the past several years, in some cases — candidates have worked to raise money for the 2020 election in order to spread their name and message to voters in the 19th Legislative District, which spans from Longview and Kelso to Montesano and Aberdeen.
Ahead of the Aug. 4 top-two primary election, with ballots being mailed out just 23 days from today, fundraising reports submitted to the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission by the eight candidates — four Democrats and four Republicans — in the district’s three contested races show that Democratic candidates have raised and stockpiled significantly more money than their Republican counterparts.
As of June 14, Democratic candidates in the 19th District have outraised Republican candidates by a more than 2-to-1 margin — $277,000 to $120,000. Of the state’s 49 legislative districts, candidates in the three 19th District races collectively rank 11th in fundraising.
What’s more stark than the total sum raised by the two parties — which includes donations, loans and leftover funds from a previous election — is the massive cash-on-hand advantage Democrats collectively have over Republicans. Democratic candidates had a combined $183,000 on hand, while Republican candidates had a combined $7,000 on hand, a 26-to-1 margin.
State Sen. Dean Takko, D-Longview, led all candidates with $99,000 on hand — which subtracts debt and expenditures from how much a campaign has raised overall. While Rep. Jim Walsh, R-Aberdeen, has raised the second most money of any candidate running for any of the three 19th District positions, his campaign is actually $3,300 in the red when factoring in the $21,500 debt his campaign owes and the $66,200 it has spent since 2019 — the most of any local candidate.
GOP challengers to Takko buoyed by hometown support
Takko has been able to raise funds for this year’s race since 2017, and has used that time to amass a massive cash advantage over the two Republican candidates he’ll face off against in the primary election — Port of Longview Commissioner Jeff Wilson and Grays Harbor County Commissioner Wes Cormier.
Of the nearly $90,000 his campaign has raised — he also had $58,000 leftover from his 2016 race — more than 60% has come from businesses and political action committees for trade associations. Business donors to Takko include national giants such as AT&T, FedEx and Chevron, as well as Washington-based businesses such as Cooke Aquaculture Pacific and Weyerhaeuser, and Pacific County-based Willapa Fish & Oyster. County residents and businesses have donated at least $2,200 to Takko, who was born in Ilwaco, and his campaign.
Among the two Republican candidates vying for the senate seat, Wilson holds the edge over Cormier, sitting with $7,600 on hand. Of the $20,000 his campaign has raised since first launching in January, at least $14,700 has come from the Longview-Kelso area — including a $5,500 loan from the candidate himself.
Wilson’s campaign has received $1,750 in donations from two Longview-Kelso businesses — Pacific Tech Construction and Pets, Pawns & Imports. The campaign also received a $50 donation from State Sen. Michael Padden, R-Spokane Valley, and a $100 donation from Cowlitz County Commissioner Dennis Weber, a Republican.
Cormier’s campaign has raised $6,400 since launching in January, and has $2,900 on hand. About 60% of the funds raised by the campaign have come from Grays Harbor County residents — including a loan of $1,260 Cormier gave to his campaign.
The campaign’s sole donation from a business was from the Longview-based Sutinen Consulting, a company offering information technology services. Cormier also received a $100 donation from Jerry Cooper, a Republican candidate for the Cowlitz County Commission in 2018.
Bryson receives backing of unions, party against Walsh
Due to high expenditures and debt, Walsh, the two-term incumbent in the State Rep. Position No. 1 race, trails in the cash on hand race to both of his Democratic challengers, Montesano City Councilor Clint Bryson and Montesano nurse Marianna Everson.
Bryson, also a business representative for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local No. 76, leads the primary field with $22,200 on hand. Of the $51,000 Bryson has raised in total since launching his campaign in January, more than 40% has come from unions and their PACs, including donations from the Washington State Nurses Association and the Longview-Kelso Building & Construction Trades Council.
Bryson has also received the financial backing of the Washington House Democratic Caucus via the Harry Truman Fund — whose largest donor is the Washington Education Association PAC — and Washington House Speaker Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma. At least 33% of Bryson’s funds has come from individuals; Pacific County residents have donated at least $225 to Bryson’s campaign.
Nearly all of the donations to Everson’s campaign, which has $1,100 on hand, has been from individuals. Of the $7,000 donated to her campaign, just 5% has come from a business, union or PAC: a $350 in-kind donation from Aberdeen-based Alanhil Graphics for campaign signs.
The rest of Everson’s campaign war chest has come from individuals, the clear majority of whom have given in contributions of fewer than $100. Many of the campaign’s donors reside in Grays Harbor County communities, including Montesano, Aberdeen and Westport.
Walsh, like most other state representatives planning to seek re-election, has been raising funds for the upcoming election since being sworn in for his current term last January. Since then, about half of the funds his campaign’s received has come from individuals, including at least $800 from Pacific County residents, with the other half coming mostly from businesses and trade association PACs.
Walsh has received the support of businesses such as health insurance company Premera and oil giant Phillips 66. Of the $18,600 the Walsh campaign has received from businesses, about $2,300 has come from businesses located in the 19th District. The campaign has also received donations from PACs of statewide trade associations, including the Washington Hospitality Association, the Washington Beverage Association and the Association of Builders & Contractors of Western Washington.
Blake holds steep cash advantage over McEntire
In a rematch from 2018, incumbent State Rep. Brian Blake, D-Aberdeen, holds a large fundraising advantage over Wahkiakum County Republican Chairman and educator Joel McEntire in the State Rep. Position No. 2 race. Blake has raised $72,300 in his bid for a tenth term in office, and has $60,800 on hand.
Blake has received thousands of dollars in donations from a wide array of interests, including businesses, trade associations, tribes and unions. Notable business donors include Amazon, Weyerhaeuser and Chevron. The campaign has also received funds from the West Coast Seafood Processors Association, the Washington Cannabusiness Association and the Washington Federation of State Employees.
McEntire’s campaign has raised $9,100 since launching in October, and is $300 in the red when factoring in the $1,300 debt the campaign owes.
About 55% of the campaign’s funds came from a $5,000 donation from the House Republican Organizational Committee, the campaign arm of the Washington State House Republican Caucus. The campaign also received a $1,000 donation from the Wahkiakum County Republican Party, of which McEntire is the chair.
To view complete campaign finance reports for the 19th District races, as well as all local, judicial, legislative and statewide executive races in Washington state, visit https://pdc.wa.gov.