Campaign Fizz: Bobby Forch is $61,000 In Debt

By Erica C. Barnett November 2, 2011

Your one-stop shop for today's local campaign news, gossip, and analysis. 

1) Less than a week from election day, city council candidate Bobby Forch, running against council incumbent Jean Godden, is reporting nearly $61,000 in debt. To give you a sense of how staggering that sum is, the candidate with the second-highest debt in any council race, including those who lost in the primary (and have received no or only scant contributions since then) is Dian Ferguson, with just over $12,000 in debt.

It's unclear whether Forch has done a poll (his campaign disclosure documents don't show any expenditures on polling), but he appears to be feeling confident: Candidates rarely go far into debt unless they believe they can recoup their costs after a successful election campaign, as now-Mayor Mike McGinn can attest. Forch, a manager at SDOT who makes a little over $100,000, has definitely spent big on mail---dropping nearly $13,000 on printing and graphic design, for example, in September and October alone.

I asked Forch's campaign consultant, John Wyble, if he knew something I didn't. "We're feeling pretty confident," he said.

However, Wyble acknowledges: "Yeah, we're a little in debt." Is Wyble going to get paid? "I hope so," he jokes.

2) Speaking of mail, local consultants continue to gnash their teeth over delays by the US Postal Service in delivering campaign mailers (consultant Jason Bennett says he's heard about "races where it took 6 days to get to the destination and another that took 24 hours.") Wyble, who's been sending mail out for Forch and other candidates every Tuesday, says he's having the opposite problem: "I actually wish it had been one or two days slower" so that it would have landed this Thursday or Friday, when last-minute voters are making up their minds.

3) Over in Bellevue, residents are planning to protest outside megadeveloper Kemper Freeman's Bellevue Square office today, in response to two negative mailers, paid for by a PAC primarily funded by Freeman, attacking Bellevue City Council member Claudia Balducci and council candidate John Stokes.

The Stokes mailer accuses the candidate, running for the seat Grant Degginger decided to vacate because of the ugly state of political discourse in the city, of lacking "integrity." "What is John Stokes hiding? A lot..." the mailer says. The state bar of Texas found Stokes guilty of professional misconduct more than two decades ago in relation to a case he took on in 1988.

The Balducci hit piece goes even further, insinuating that Balducci traded away local tax dollars to Sound Transit in exchange for a seat on the Sound Transit board and "a 'promotion' to a King County government job with a $151,000 salary." The mailer also implies that Balducci is in the pocket of big developers and voted to "destroy South Bellevue neighborhoods" in exchange for campaign contributions.

As we've reported, Balducci has received contributions from Seattle developer Wright Runstad, which is building a mixed-use development at a future rail station in the Bel-Red corridor; but Freeman has poured many, many thousands more (including $25,000 to the anti-Balducci, anti-Stokes PAC, and $1,600 to Balducci's opponent Patti Mann) into the campaigns of her opponents.
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