Posted by: sweeneyblog | September 18, 2013

Fundraising Comparison for the Port Races

Buoyed by the popularity of my last post analyzing the fundraising progress (or prowess?) of the County Council candidates, I’m taking a quick look at the Port of Bellingham candidates’ finances.

The hottest races in Whatcom outside the County Council is clearly the port. Similar to the county, you have four highly competitive candidates facing off in a race that will determine the balance of power for that organization. Business consultant Renata Kowalczyk is running against former mayoral candidate Dan Robbins for the open seat being vacated by Scott Walker. Meanwhile, incumbent green builder and former Marine Mike McAuley defends his seat against planning commissioner and recycling business owner Ken Bell.

Here’s how the fundraising looks as we plow into September:

Two things immediately jump out at me; with the exception of Mike McAuley, all the candidates appear to have raised the same amount of money . . . except the conservative candidates, Ken Bell and Dan Robbins, have both given themselves sizeable personal loans, which means that the real standout is Renata for personally raising $15k, while the others raised around $10k.

The other interesting indicator is the cash on hand. Again, Renata leads the pack with the most money in her pockets right now. Despite the fact that McAuley has the least cash on hand, it is actually Bell that is the biggest spender – with almost all of his money being spent on yard signs (which explains their omnipresence in the county).

Aside from their personal loans, the conservative candidates have pulled in most of their cash from two sources: the Republican Party, and developers tied to the port.

Bellingham firefighter endorsements

The local firefighters invested in McAuley and Renata

Bell received $650 from the State and County Republicans and then another $1,350 from Republican party activists or officials (Luanne Van Werven, Dusty Guilleson, and Greg Brown of the Whatcom Excavator). The rest of his high-level donors are all developers tied to the port. $1,000 from Realtor Troy Mulijat, $1,000 from the owner of Bellair Airporter Shuttles, another $1,500 from developers and landowners in Fairhaven and down at the Marina.

Robbins received $850 from the State and County Republicans and another $2,000 from Republican donors Nick Kaiser and Joe Wilson. He also received $1,000 from developers around the port properties.

Renata’s biggest contribution ($4,000) comes from the Whatcom Commercial Fisherman’s Association. After that, she received $1,000 from local musician Mark Ashworth, $900 from the Firefighters and $600 from the National Women’s Political Caucus Campaign Fund. She also received $500 from Rocket Donuts owner Jim Swift.

McAuley also drew $4,000 from the Fisherman’s Association and $1,000 from Ashworth. Showcasing his union credentials, he received $200 from the Teamsters and the Firefighters, and $500 from Jim Swift. However, McAuley has far fewer large donors, mainly relying on a network of small donations to sustain his campaign.



  1. […] […]

  2. Let’s hope voters don’t mistake the Firefighters’ support for Knutson (for city council) for support of Knutzen for County council. They should add a first initial in their sign.

  3. […] my examination of County Council and Port candidate‘s fundraising, I wanted to complete my tour with a look at the City Council candidates. Below […]

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