Morning Fizz

Who's Contributing to the Candidates

Sawant has thousands of contributors

By Josh Feit July 16, 2015

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1. Yesterday, we posted the latest fundraising totals for the council candidates, focusing on some notable stats, like the fact that in the high-profile District Three (Capitol Hill south to I-90) race, incumbent Kshama Sawant and her surprisingly dogged challenger, Urban League leader Pamela Banks, both crushed it, raising $84,000 and $87,000 respectively.

The other noteworthy story was that in the District Four (U. District to Sand Point) race, challenger Rob Johnson, the executive director of the Transportation Choices Coalition, doubled the fundraising of his opponent, longtime incumbent Jean Godden.

Equally important (if not more important), though, is where all this money comes from.

For starters, while Johnson is being tagged as the chamber/Seattle Times candidate, that shorthand doesn’t capture his donor list, which includes a recent max contribution from the Billy Bragg-iest union in town, the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21, along with other recent big contributions from the King County Labor Council, the machinists, and SEIU 925.

Yes, Johnson also got a max donation from the Seattle chamber’s PAC and the conservative Washington Restaurant Association too, but ultimately it’s planning nerds (UW transit director Josh Kavanagh and recent Seattle Planning Commission member and VIA architect designer Matt Roewe) plus local government types (Dow Constantine chief of staff Sung Yang), and not big biz, that are filling out Johnson’s list.

Given that mayor Ed Murray endorsed Godden, the most notable contribution to Johnson's campaign this month came from Murray’s transit policy chief Andrew Glass Hastings ($250). And what an ingrate Mayor Murray is: Johnson’s group TCC is likely—as they did with Murray’s bus funding property tax measure last year—to lead the campaign for Murray’s $930 million transportation measure this year.

Sawant's Contributors:

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As for Sawant versus Banks. With Sawant’s astounding 1,524 contributors (to Banks’s 642 contributors) and Sawant's average $116 donation (to Banks’ $270), it is undeniable that Sawant’s recent contributor list—filled out by small donations at her town hall event—is true to her little-guy rhetoric. Strange footnote, though, 29 percent of Sawant’s money is from out of state, while only 16 percent comes from District Three. By comparison, 33 percent of Banks’s contributors live in District Three. (Sawant's numbers are complicated, likely because she has so many small donors, by the stat that 32 percent of her donors are listed without an address.)

Banks’s contributors definitely reflect the so-called “Establishment” tag that Sawant rails against, though: Vulcan execs, realtors, anti-SeaTac $15 advocate, Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden ($700 on June 29), and the chamber PAC. Some other notable recent Banks contributors include: council member John Okamoto, King County prosecutor Dan Satterberg, Alison Holcomb’s husband (and anti-$15 bar owner) Greg Holcomb—and former Sawant foe, former city council member Richard Conlin ($100.)

Another noteworthy recent Banks contributor? Another candidate in the race, retired newsman and longtime Central District activist Leon Carter at $250.

Pamela Banks's Contributors:

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2. Speaking of Sawant. Check out yesterday’s Jolt: New polling on Sawant shows her favorability rating city wide is tumbling and her unfavorability rating city wide is sky rocketing.

3. Some notes from last night’s at-large candidate forum at the downtown library. At-large District Nine candidate Lorena  González was the only candidate who had no reservations about the new smoking ban in parks. At-large District Eight candidate John Roderick was the only candidate who’s ridden a Pronto. And at-large District Nine candidate Bill Bradburd trashed the recent HALA committee recommendations on the grounds that they intruded on single family zones. Saying he was “adamantly” against the code changes that would allow duplexes and triplexes in SFZ’s because it would lead to a developer land grab, he concluded that the idea was “awful.”

For a blow by blow, check out the invaluable Erica C. Barnett’s tweets from the forum, where Jon Grant said the pending community police commission legislation—backed by both the mayor and the likes of longtime SPD reformer and CPC member Lisa Daugaard—should have come to the council sooner.

4. A quick fact check on candidate Jon Grant's notion that putting the original residential linkage fee back into the HALA committee recommendations will boost the dollars for housing for those living at 30 percent of median income level.


Even the supporters of the original linkage fee acknowledged—because it was the only way they could legally argue the proposed fee offset the "link" between fancy new development and housing costs—that the revenue was slated for housing service economy employees being created by all the yuppie creative economy employees at Amazon; that's who the original fancy new development is for. In other words, the linkage fee revenue was for housing service economy working class people, not zero-to-30 percent level people living in poverty. 

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