Campaign money follows political power

October 28, 2008

By Jon Savelle

Cheryl Pflug tops donations with $160,000 reported so far

Political campaign dollars are flowing freely this season, with incumbents raking in the lion’s share as usual. Also as usual, a look at the donors reveals a lot about the candidates they support in the Nov. 4 general election.

In the 5th Legislative District, the incumbents are Sen. Cheryl Pflug (R-Maple Valley), Rep. Jay Rodne (R-North Bend) and Rep. Glenn Anderson (R-Fall City). All three have strong bases of support in the district, which extends from Maple Valley to Sammamish and east to Snoqualmie Pass.

Each incumbent faces a Democratic opponent who is a political newcomer: Phyllis Huster, of Snoqualmie, is challenging Pflug; Jon Viebrock, of Carnation, is gunning for Rodne; and David Spring, of North Bend, is going after Anderson.

Records on file with the state Public Disclosure Commission include listings of contributors’ names, their addresses, the amount given and, if that amount is more than $100, their place of employment.

Because Pflug is one of just 49 state senators, her vote carries more weight in the Legislature than that of a representative, of whom there are 98. Campaign donations reflect this, with Pflug’s total topping $160,000 Oct. 24.

Rodne is next with $89,000, followed by Anderson at $72,000. Their opponents trail significantly: Huster has $44,000, Viebrock has $34,000 and Spring has $23,000.

Individual donations to Pflug’s campaign come from a broad range of people and organizations. Among them are builders’ groups, developers, oil companies (Chevron gave $800), contractors, healthcare groups and professionals, airlines, public school employees, food and beverage action committees, asparagus growers and trucking companies.

Several of these are based out of state. Pharmaceutical giant Amgen, which donated $800 to Pflug, is in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Verizon Wireless ($500) is based in Folsom, Calif., and Hoffmann-La Roche ($500), another large pharmaceutical firm, is in Nutley, N.J.

The pharmaceuticals’ interest in Pflug is related to her position as the ranking minority member of the Senate Health & Long-Term Care Committee.

Other well-known donors are closer to home. Issaquah developer Skip Rowley and wife Debra each contributed $800 to Pflug’s campaign, while Cadman Inc., of Redmond, gave $250.

Rodne’s donors also reflect his committee assignments: Judiciary, Insurance, Financial Services & Consumer Protection, and Transportation. Contributions to his campaign have come from insurance and financial services organizations, auto dealers, oil marketers, the food industry, truckers, developers and numerous individuals.

Symetra Financial, of Encino, Calif., donated $500 to Rodne’s campaign. The Trucking Action Committee, with offices in Federal Way, gave $800. So did the Washington Society of CPAs, in Bellevue.

Contributions to Anderson’s campaign are similar. He serves on the House Appropriations, Education and Higher Education committees, but the contributors come from many industries. They include the National Rifle Association, of Fairfax, Va. ($700), the Affordable Housing Council ($800), the Washington Restaurant Association ($800), Associated Builders and Contractors ($400), the Washington Association of Realtors ($800), Weyerhaeuser ($800), Wal-Mart Stores ($800), and Tyco Electronics ($800), of Harrisburg, Pa.

Like the other incumbents, Anderson has received donations from large pharmaceutical companies, such as Eli Lilly and Merck.

Those names are not to be found among the contributors to Huster, Viebrock and Spring.

Huster’s support comes from individuals; the 5th District Democrats ($3,125); the Roosevelt Fund ($1,600), which is managed by the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee; East King County Democratic Women ($500); and the Iron Workers District Council, of Portland, Ore. ($300). Huster herself has spent $3,750 on her campaign.

Many labor groups have contributed to Viebrock’s campaign. A union drywall foreman, he has support from Teamsters ($500), Iron Workers ($250), the Washington State Labor Council ($100), the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades ($1,400), the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers ($300) and the Washington Machinists Council ($250).

Other supporters include NARAL Pro-Choice Washington ($300), the 5th District Democrats ($4,000) and the Harry Truman Fund of the state House Democrats ($800).

For Spring, contributions have come from traditional sources, such as the 5th District Democrats ($4,000), the East King County Democrats ($500), the House Democratic Campaign Committee ($5,000) and the Washington State Democratic Central Committee ($2,000).

Some labor groups also have contributed to Spring’s campaign. Among them are the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers ($200) and the Washington State Trades Council ($150).

Local individual contributors include City Councilman David Kappler and former councilman Hank Thomas, with  $50 each.

Reach Reporter Jon Savelle at 392-6434, ext. 234, or

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Election results will be posted Wednesday morning, Nov. 5, on

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