Amphitheater owners, casino opponents big spenders in 18th

Rich Carson, an independent candidate in the 18th Legislative District race, delved into the most recent state Public Disclosure Commission campaign finance filings to find out who is giving who how much money in the district’s hotly contested race for an open seat.

Carson was curious in part because he has vowed to take no special interest money. So far, the former Clark County director of community development has raised just $477.50.

What Carson found out was that Ann Rivers, the top fund-raiser in the race with $34,145 as of mid-May, is flush with contributions from interest groups. Among her donors are owners of the recently renamed Sleep Country Amphitheater; opponents of a Cowlitz Tribe casino; and J.L. Storedahl & Sons gravel mining company, one of Rivers’ former clients.

Dan Braun, Peter Mensch and Clifford Burnstein, principals in Q-Prime/Quincux, the New York company that owns the amphitheater, gave Rivers a total of $3,700. She also received $800 from Chris Crowley, local spokesman for the amphitheater.

Kimball and Vicky Storedahl, owners of the Kelso-based gravel mining company, contributed $2,500 to Rivers, the company’s former spokeswoman. After years of litigation, the company has resumed gravel mining in Clark County near the East Fork of the Lewis River.

The Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, owner of Oregon’s largest tribal casino and principal bankroller of the campaign to stop the Cowlitz Tribe from building a casino near La Center, contributed $1,600 to Rivers’ campaign. She also received $2,400 from casino foes Virginia and Edward Lynch and $500 from La Center casino opponent Al Alexanderson.

Julie and James Anderson of Omaha-based Great Western Malting, a major tenant of the Port of Vancouver, gave Rivers $3,200.

Among other 18th District candidates still in the race, Democrat Dennis Kampe, director of the Clark County Skills Center, was second, with $10,620, including $800 from the Southwest Washington Electricians Political Action Committee 48 in Battle Ground. Republican Brandon Vick was in third place with $5,595.

Shannon Barnett and Robert Dean, both Republicans, have withdrawn from the 18th District race since the last filing date.

In the open 17th District race, Evergreen Schools teacher Monica Stonier led in fund-raising with $12,581. Businessman and former Evergreen School Board member Paul Harris reported $9,350 in contributions.

In the contested race for the 17th District seat held by Democratic Rep. Tim Probst, the incumbent has $50,082, about twice as much as Republican challenger Brian Peck, a Vancouver gas station owner and political newcomer, who has raised $25,314.

In the 49th District, incumbent Democratic Rep. Jim Moeller has $35,360 in his campaign war chest. His Republican opponent, Vancouver consultant Craig Riley, has $12,433. Democratic Rep. Jim Jacks has raised $25,619; his Democratic challenger, Jennifer Conkley, reported $9,667, nearly all of which she loaned to her campaign.

Kathie Durbin

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