Mielke’s senate write-in campaign raises $10,000

Remember last month, when we reported that Tom Mielke was eyeing a run for state senate?

Well, in a shocking twist, Tom Mielke is running for state senate. 

The Republican launched a write-in campaign in the 18th Legislative District, despite the fact that the 18th is already represented by an incumbent Republican senator.

According to the Public Disclosure Commission, Mielke formally filed his campaign on Sept. 10 and has since raised $10,882.67. His top contributors include himself ($2,882.67), David and Donna Madore ($1,000 each), Ken and Sherrilyn Fisher ($1,000 each), Kenneth and Claudia Peterson ($1,000 each) and Clyde Holland ($1,000).

These are friends in high places — David Madore is a former (and controversial) Clark County councilor and founder of Clark County News. Ken Fisher is the embattled billionaire chairman of Fisher Investments, the single largest private employer in Clark County. Ken Peterson is the wealthy Vancouver investor behind Columbia Ventures Corporation. Clyde Holland is the CEO of Holland Partner Group, the developer building Block 10 and a fourth Vancouvercenter tower downtown. 

Mielke previously served four terms as a state representative in the 18th District. After that, he spent two terms as a Clark County councilor before retiring in 2016.

He’s challenging Sen. Ann Rivers, the two-term incumbent.

 In a campaign announcement reported by Clark County Today, Mielke said he’s watched Rivers with “complete dismay”:

“In everything from violating her promise to oppose the largest gas tax and tab fee increases in this state’s history, to selling us out on the McCleary budget and then blaming our County Assessor when most of our property taxes exploded, to leading the charge to restart the failed Columbia River Crossing (CRC) with tolls instead of a 3rd crossing, she has failed us.”

For what it’s worth, Rivers is a Republican. She was a Republican when she was elected to the state House of Representatives in 2010 and served as the minority party whip, she was a Republican when she issued the formal Republican response to then-Gov. Christine Gregoire’s State of the State address, she was a Republican when she was elected senator of the 18th District in 2012, and she was a Republican when she was reelected in 2016. 

The Clark County Republican Party, however, disagrees. During the party’s July 18 meeting, precinct committee officers formally moved to endorse Rivers’ earlier GOP challenger — John Ley, who’s since been eliminated in the primary election — despite a rule in the CCRP’s bylaws that the group can’t endorse one Republican over another.

According to the minutes from that July meeting, the PCO’s got around that particular rule on the basis that “Ann Rivers does not meet the standards for being a republican.”

It’s unclear how two Republican candidates will impact the outcome of the Nov. 3 election. We can, however, look at the August primary: Ley and Rivers split the Republican vote, and the top ballot-earner was Democrat Rick Bell.

Mielke told me Friday that he’s hoping for a similar outcome. He either wants to win outright, or split the vote and send Bell to Olympia in place of Rivers.

“At least we know how a Democrat votes. A moderate Democrat will do a better job than Ann Rivers,” Mielke asserted.


Calley Hair

Calley Hair

I write about city and federal politics. Find me at twitter.com/CalleyNHair

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