January 7, 2010
NEW — 6 a.m. Jan. 7, 2010
Bellevue Republican Gregg Bennett launched a campaign Tuesday for the District 48 state Senate seat. The district includes the South Cove neighborhoods in western Issaquah.
Bennett described himself as a moderate Republican who said his No. 1 priority as a state lawmaker would be education. He touted his involvement with community, education and sports groups.
“I’m ready to roll up my sleeves to get administrators, principals, teachers, parents, kids…and even our legislative leaders all working together towards the same goal — to make sure our kids are our first priority and their futures are bright,” Bennett said in a news release.
Besides South Cove in Issaquah, the district includes parts of Bellevue, Kirkland and Redmond.
December 22, 2009
The race to represent Issaquah in Olympia kicked off last week, months before voters receive ballots.
Dean Willard, a Sammamish resident, former T-Mobile executive and Democrat, entered the 2010 race for the state House seat held by Glenn Anderson.
Anderson, a Fall City Republican, was first elected to represent the 5th District in 2000, and re-elected subsequently.
Willard said the district has changed since Anderson was elected almost a decade ago. The first-time candidate said he would work to convince voters to send “a more moderate representative” to Olympia.
Willard cited population growth in the district, and said new residents helped shift the character from rural to suburban.
Voters “are looking for a pragmatic Democrat who is interested in solving problems,” he said.
Anderson said he looks forward to the contest. He noted the challenges lawmakers face due to the recession and fewer dollars for state programs.
“We live in a time where just because there is so much anxiety and economic stress, we are going to be living with the consequences of these elections for a long time into the future,” Anderson said. “I think it’s a good thing to have robust debates about where do we go and how do we do it. We all benefit from that. And if Mr. Willard has something to contribute, then all the better.”
Anderson filed paperwork in June with the state Public Disclosure Commission in order to raise money for a 2010 re-election bid. The incumbent had raised about $19,000 by late December, records show.
Anderson plans to step up campaign activities after the legislative session wraps in the spring.
“You’re supposed to be the voice of what people are trying to get accomplished, as opposed to tooting your own horn about what your self-important perception is,” Anderson said. “People don’t like that too much.”
Willard, a former vice president at Bellevue-based T-Mobile, works as an information technology and security consultant. The local state Democratic committeeman volunteered for Joe Mallahan, the T-Mobile executive who lost a bid last month to become Seattle mayor. He also volunteered for Democrats in past 5th District races.
Willard said as a Democrat he could be a more effective representative than Anderson. Democrats control both houses in the Legislature. Gov. Chris Gregoire is also a Democrat.
Anderson was re-elected last year. He garnered about 52 percent of the vote over challenger David Spring.
Anderson is the ranking member on the House Higher Education Committee. He also serves on the Capital Budget and Education Appropriations committees.
Besides Issaquah, Sammamish and Fall City, the 5th District includes Snoqualmie, North Bend, Maple Valley and parts of unincorporated King County.
November 3, 2009
With phone calls, e-mail blasts and old-fashioned glad-handing, Issaquah city and schools candidates tapped a wide network of donors for cash to keep campaigns cruising ahead.
Despite a tough economy and the number of unopposed races on the city ballot, candidates had outpaced the amount spent on city races in 2007. During the last election cycle — when nine candidates appeared on the ballot in the August primary and seven candidates went on to the general election — challengers raised $32,505. Contrast the total with 2009, when no primary election was needed and eight candidates pulled in more than $58,000 by the last week in October, according to filings with the state Public Disclosure Commission.
Despite the economic downturn, most candidates said the recession had not limited donors’ ability to give.
“The economy has put a ding in a lot of races,” City Council candidate Joan Probala said.
But Probala, who faced incumbent Maureen McCarry, said she had no trouble fundraising. Probala said she was pleased with the amount raised by her campaign: $17,752 by the end of October.
McCarry had raised more by the end of October — $11,509 — than the $10,230 she mustered four years ago, when she was locked in a tight race with Bill Conley. But the City Council incumbent said asking for money had become difficult amid the recession.
“There are higher priorities in people’s lives right now, and I respect that,” McCarry said.
Candidate Nathan Perea tapped into a broad group of donors because he “reached out to so many families and close friends,” he said. He had raised $8,273 by the end of last month.
Perea squared off against another newcomer, Tola Marts, for the Position 7 council seat. Marts said he employed a similar strategy to rake in $5,461 by the end of October, according to campaign filings.
“I have a really strong set of supporters,” Marts said.
Dash for cash
City candidates also worked to secure more donations to reach big numbers, due to a new campaign finance rule — the first limit to campaign contributions in Issaquah history.
With the start of campaign season two weeks away, the City Council voted in mid-May to limit Issaquah campaign contributions. The cap limits donations to $500 from a single party and includes both cash and in-kind donations in the total. Enforcement fell to city Code Compliance Officer Michele Forkner.
She said no complaints have been filed under the new ordinance. But several donors skirted the cap by giving to candidates already in the race before June 1, when the limit went into effect.
Mayor Ava Frisinger, who will be re-elected unopposed, netted $7,795 in cash and in-kind donations. Most of the contributions to the Frisinger campaign poured in before the filing period closed in June without a candidate challenging the mayor.
Unopposed City Council candidates, incumbent Eileen Barber and newcomer Mark Mullet, also pulled in donations. Barber pulled in $1,998 before the candidate-filing period ended. Mullet has raised $5,445, according to campaign filings.
Probala, who entered the race in late February, pulled in $1,000 from the Seattle King County Association of Realtors before the contribution limit went into effect.
Probala, a real estate agent, also received contributions from a political action committee, the Realtors Quality of Life PAC, a real estate organization based in Olympia. Her campaign drew $5,936 worth of independent support last month from organizations. The contributions were used for campaign mailers and newspaper ads, according to campaign filings.
Outside spending from the Affordable Housing Council was used to support Perea and Probala. The organization — the political arm of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties — spent $1,600 each on the Perea and Probala campaigns to call voters.
City candidates each hosted a few receptions to raise money, and made pitches for campaign dollars through the Web. Candidates shelled out for big-ticket items, such as hundreds of yard signs, Web site design services and campaign mailers.
Probala, who raised more than any other city candidate, also spent the most: $14,191. Her campaign spent $1,731.23 for mailers, $1,138.20 for yard signs and $954 for newspaper advertising.
McCarry directed $7,241 to her re-election bid. She spent $2,727 for newspaper ads, $4,621.15 for campaign mailers and $1,215 for her campaign Web site.
Perea dropped $7,654 in the Position 7 contest. He outspent opponent Marts, who funneled $3,684 to his campaign.
Perea splurged on $1,095 for campaign signs, $1,000 for campaign consulting and Web site design, and $877.10 to print campaign materials.
Marts spent a total of $1,078.61 for campaign mailers and another $683.28 for yard signs. The largest single expense for the Marts campaign was $715 for a newspaper ad.
Mini-campaigns, big bills
Marnie Maraldo and Wright Noel, vying for the school board Director District No. 2 seat, opted for a different tactic: the so-called mini-campaign, a pact to limit fundraising and spending to $5,000.
The total includes loans from a candidate to his or her campaign. Contributions from a single donor cannot exceed $500. If a candidate breaks the mini-campaign rules, he or she must file a weekly disclosure report with the PDC. Maraldo and Noel did not break the $5,000 limit.
The schools candidates said the format allowed them more time to focus on issues.
“I’ve spent most of my time talking about the issues, rather than going out and trying to get money from people,” Noel said. “So, it has been nice, in that sense, since I haven’t had to be concerned about raising a lot of money.”
Maraldo said she and her husband, Tony, loaned the campaign about $2,500 at the beginning. Since she started fundraising during the summer, about $2,200 has flowed to the campaign, she said.
Maraldo estimated half of the donations were made through her campaign Web site. The other half, she said, was made through mailed contributions.
Major donors to the Maraldo campaign included local unions, education advocate Leigh Stokes and state Rep. Marcie Maxwell, a Renton Democrat who represents Newcastle, where Maraldo lives. The largest donations were about $200 each, Maraldo said.
Maraldo said most of money, $1,773.90, went toward campaign signs. Maraldo also had a campaign manager for a short stint, a $750 expense.
The campaign had about $1,500 less than two weeks before Election Day, and Maraldo said she would likely be able to reimburse about $1,000 of her loan to her campaign.
Noel said he has raised $1,455 in outside contributions for his campaign, using the same formula as Maraldo. He loaned the campaign about $1,000 to launch the effort. About half of the donations he collected were funneled through his Web site, and the other half was sent via mail.
“Even $10 is a huge statement of their support,” Noel said. “Does it make a difference? Yes. I wouldn’t have been able to get the signs out.”
Noel had spent $1,274 with less than two weeks until the election, with campaign signs as the largest expense. The campaign also paid for materials to make stress balls — flour and balloons with Noel’s name on them — and campaign buttons, and ingredients to bake homemade cookies.
After Noel reimburses the original loan, the campaign account will have a balance of about $200, Noel said.
Noel said the largest contribution to his campaign was about $200. Most of the donations, however, were between $10 and $50, he said.
“There has been a lot of little donations, which has been hugely appreciated,” he said.
Despite a tough economy and a new $500 cap in city races, City Council candidates raised impressive amounts in the sprint toward Election Day. Here are some of the top donors in Issaquah races:
City Council, Position 5
Connie Marsh: $500
Chris Hysom: $500
Washington Conservation Voters: $450
Seattle King County Association of Realtors: $1,000
Bill Conley: $501
Eastside Business Alliance: $500
Donations above the $500 limit were made before the cap went into effect June 1.
City Council, Position 7
Eastside Business Alliance: $500
Rowley Properties: $500
Washington Association of Realtors: $500
Councilman John Rittenhouse: $350
Council President Maureen McCarry: $250
41st District Democrats: $250
School Board, Director District No. 2
Marnie Maraldo and Wright Noel opted to use so-called mini-campaigns, which limit the total raised and spent on a campaign to $5,000. Candidates who chose mini-campaigns do not have to file a weekly report with the Public Disclosure Commission.
Source: Public Disclosure Commission
By Warren Kagarise and Chantelle Lusebrink
November 3, 2009
City Council candidates want to know who paid for robocalls — pre-recorded, automated phone messages — made on behalf of contenders Nathan Perea and Joan Probala a week before Election Day. Read more
November 1, 2009
NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 1, 2009
City Council candidates want to know who paid for robocalls made on behalf of contenders Nathan Perea and Joan Probala a week before Election Day.
Perea and Probala disavowed knowledge of the calls or the entity behind them. No evidence ties the robocalls to the Perea or Probala campaigns. The automated calls encourage voters to cast ballots for Perea and Probala.
“I would like you to vote today for Joan Probala and Nathan Perea for the Issaquah City Council, and mail your ballot today,” a woman said in the message. Issaquah voters said they received the call early last week.
Perea faces Tola Marts in the contest for the Position 7 seat. Probala is vying against incumbent Maureen McCarry in the Position 5 race.
The candidates raised concerns about the robocalls because the messages do not identify the entity behind the message, or even the woman in the call.
“I’ve worked hard and I want to feel good about what I’ve done,” Probala said. “Now, there’s a cloud hanging over Nathan and I.”
June 2, 2009
New city campaign finance rules went into effect June 1 — just as candidates began filing to run for mayor and four City Council seats. Read more
May 18, 2009
NEW — 10:07 p.m. May 18, 2009
With the start of campaign season two weeks away, City Council members voted tonight to limit campaign contributions to $500 from a single party. The cap includes both cash and in-kind donations in the total.
The rules will go into effect June 1, the same day candidates can begin to file to run for mayor or four open City Council seats. The filing period ends June 5.
Council members voted 5-1 in favor of the bill. Councilwoman Eileen Barber cast the dissenting vote. Councilman John Rittenhouse, the main proponent of the legislation, did not attend the meeting due to illness.
May 12, 2009
Candidates for city offices could face new limits to donations in the next election. Legislation to limit contributions to $500 from a single party will be considered by the City Council May 18. Read more
May 5, 2009
City Council candidates could be forced to dig deeper for donations if a new cap on campaign contributions is enacted. Read more
October 28, 2008
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.