All Politics is Local

Southwest Wa Priorities come from Seattle and other independent expenditures

In the final weeks leading up to tomorrow’s elections, local candidates have had a helping hand — full of money.

Specifically, this help has come in the form of independent expenditures from political committees not associated with their campaigns. Independent expenditures are usually ads sponsored by these committees in support of or opposition to a candidate.

In late October, Tanisha Harris got some help from a political committee called “Southwest Wa Priorities” that spent $32,500 on ads in support of her candidacy. It also spent $135,734 in opposition to her opponent, state Rep. Vicki Kraft, R-Vancouver.

While the political action committee’s name suggests it’s based in Southwest Washington, campaign filings show that it’s based in Seattle and has the same mailing address as a political consulting firm affiliated with the Democratic Party. Campaign filings also show that the $170,000 it’s raised have come from the Truman Fund PAC and New Direction PAC, two political committees affiliated with Democratic Party.

After Democrats took full control of the Legislature last year Republicans have used Seattle as a political boogeyman, arguing that the city’s problems and left-leaning politics would come to dominate the state.

Evergreen Progress, another independent political committee, sent out ads with an image of Kathy Gillespie, a Democratic candidate in Clark County’s 18th Legislative District, juxtaposed with headlines about needless and homelessness. Also included in the ad is an image of Kshama Sawant, Seattle’s socialist city council member who has become another Republican boogeyman.

In other independent expenditure news, One America Votes Justice Fund has spent $1,205 on behalf of Harris. Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest spent $1,102 on behalf of Harris and another $412 for Gillespie.

The Building Industry Association of Clark County spent $800 to support the reelection of state Rep. Brandon Vick, R-Felida. Last week, a group called Concerned Taxpayers of Washington State that has a PO box in Tacoma spent $254.76 for a TV add for the candidate as well as Kraft.

Washington Conservation Voters Action Fund spent $40,000 on ads against Kraft. Two political committees affiliated with Planned Parenthood also spent a total of $7,589 against Kraft.

In races for Clark County Council, the Building Industry Association of Clark County spent $9,000 late in October to help Republican Councilor Jeanne Stewart against well-funded Democratic challenger Temple Lentz. The same group also spent $8,500 to support Republican county Councilor Eileen Quiring’s bid for council chair.

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