By Miki Mullor
Outside money is flowing to Sammamish city council elections at prodigious rates as ballots arrive at mailboxes this week.
- “Livable Sammamish,” former Mayor Don Gerend’s Political Action Committee, got additional $19,000 from the Town Center developer, for a total of $44,000.
- McKnight raise less than 3% of her funds from Sammamish donors and self funding $11,000 of her $26,000 budget.
- Sixty percent of Indapure’s donors and 69% of the cash contributions are from outside Sammamish.
- Malchow and Ken Gamblin raise over 90% from Sammamish donors.
- Karen McKnight, Rituja Indapure and Christie Malchow each crossed the $10,000 mark.
- UPDATE: WA Realtors PAC spend $11,500 to promote McKnight
PAC wars: developers vs. residents
This week, Livable Sammamish PAC reported additional $19,000 in funding from a co-developer of the Town Center developer.
A PAC (Political Action Committee) is allowed to accept unlimite,d uncapped contributions and is allowed to spend unlimited amounts on campaign promotions.
PDC records show 95% of funding for “Liveable Sammamish” PAC comes from R.D. Merrill Company, a Seattle holding company that owns Pillar Properties, which in May announced a joint venture with Innovation Realty/STCA to develop phase 1 of the Town Center.
These are the only donors to Livable Sammamish, as of Oct 16’s. PDC filing date.
Livable Sammamish backs Indapure, McKnight and Karen Howe.
WA Realtors PAC spent $11,500 on a mailer promoting McKnight.
Facing Livable Sammamish is Sammamish Life,a PAC headed by Sammamish resident Michael Scoles. As of this week, Sammamish Life” raised $40,504 from 28 Sammamish residents, staying true to Scoles’ promise to not take outside money.
The two top donors for Sammamish Life are longtime Sammamish residents Wally Pereya, the city’s leading environmentalist, and Harry Shedd, who contributed $25,000 and $10,000 respectively.
Sammamish Life backs Malchow, Gamblin and Kent Treen.
The Sammamish Comment summarized PDC campaign finance data as of Oct. 16 in the following table.
How to read the data:
- Total budget: the total amount of cash available to a campaign.
- Total raised: total amount of cash raised from third parties, excluding a candidate’s own contribution.
- $ Local: what amount of cash came from Sammamish sources.
- % Local: what percentage of cash came from Sammamish sources.
- Donors: the total number of donors.
- % Local (Donors): the percent of donors from Sammamish.
The ability to raise money is a measure of support for a candidate. The ability to raise money locally is a measure of support from the community.
The glaring difference between the candidates is that Malchow and Gamblin stayed away from outside money, while Indapure, McKnight, Howe and Treen raised the majority of their funds from outside Sammamish.
McKnight raised only 3% of her money, less than $1,000, from Sammamish donors.
While Indapure also raised most of her money from outside Sammamish (69%), in pure dollar amounts, $11,101 local dollars, she raised the second highest local amount of all other candidates, equal in number of local donors to Malchow’s (70 vs. 67 local donors).
Malchow raised the most money from local donors, $13,300 from 67 local donors, compared to all other candidates. Malchow also stayed away from outside money, with 98% of her funds coming from Sammamish.
Interestingly, Howe, who touts herself as the President of Sammamish Friends, a local non- profit, raised only $2,061, or 24%, from Sammamish–about two thirds of her newcomer opponent, Treen.
With $7,787 total raise, Howe is also at a far distance from the $15,254 she raised for her failed 2017 City Council race. Howe also ran earlier this year for the King Conservation District Board of Supervisors–and failed.
Total money raised
As in her failed 2017 City Council bid, Indapure again has a breakout fundraising with $35,507 raised, a 7:1 ratio to her opponent, Gamblin, who raised $4,750. In 2017, Indapure raised $29,667, only to lose the race to now-Council Member Chris Ross, who raised $5,786 back then, a 5:1 ratio.
In second place is McKnight, with a total of $26,169 – of which about $11,000 is her own money.
While all candidates contribute their own money (at a range of $1,000-$2,000 per candidate), McKnight’s self-funding is distinct. McKnight raised less than $850 locally, a paltry 3% of the total money she raised for her campaign.
Treen, Gamblin and Howe all have sub-$10,000 budgets. Other than Ross, the winners at the 2017 races all had over $10,000 budgets.
With two weeks to go before the election, mailers and advertising funded by outside interest groups, PACs or partisan parties is expected.
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