Posted by: sweeneyblog | June 14, 2014

Van Werven and Knutzen Fundraising Reveals GOP Divide

Following up on my examination of Sen. Doug Ericksen’s fundraising on Thursday, I took a closer look at the Republicans running for the 42nd legislative district. Luanne Van Werven, former Republican state party chair, is running against former county councilman Bill Knutzen.

Just taking a look at the raw numbers, Van Werven is running away with this. She has raised over $25,000 compared to Knutzen’s $7,000, however, there is more to this story. Van Werven has loaned her campaign $5,500 and neither campaign has reported the numbers from their campaign kickoffs which may show a shift in the fundraising numbers.

Van Werven, fundraising machine

Van Werven, fundraising machine

As could be expected, most of Van Werven’s money came from her local network of Republican donors that she has nurtured and expanded in her years as Whatcom Republican’s chair (Dusty Gulleson, Joe Wilson, Eileen Sobjack, etc); while Knutzen’s donations came from people he interacted with as a councilmember (Michelle Luke, etc). However, two donations stick out as unusual:

In terms of out-of-town money, neither candidate has drawn any big business dollars or PAC money. I assume these groups are waiting until after the primary before weighing in.

Tomorrow, I take a look at the other candidates in the race (Satpal Sidhu for the Democrats and Nicholas Kunkel for the Libertarians). Monday and Tuesday, I will be examining our congressional candidates, and yes, the 40th LD.



  1. Only $20 from Senator Doug? His lunches cost more than that! (Oh, right. He doesn’t pay for his lunches.)

    • I think he was hoping to coast under the radar. Hah.

  2. When candidates point to $20 donations from a noted local figure as being a signal of support, it is not always convincing. Somenoted donors will give $20 each to several competing primary candidates who are all in the same party. $100 seems to be where it looks more like a real seal of approval.

    As for this primary, Knutzen may get more of the kind of support Louws got for executive : the less grandstandy, more pragmatic crowd. Not every conservative likes the amount of noise that Luanne will bring.

    • The only noise that Luanne will bring is flatulence from the other party.

  3. “neither campaign has reported the numbers from their campaign kickoffs”.

    Luanne’s kickoff was Thursday, June 12th 5:30-7pm at the Windows-on-the-Bay. Doug Ericksen and Vincent Buys were in attendance. Maybe that is why ‘the numbers” haven’t been reported yet.

    I, along with many others, gave Luanne a minimum of $100 the weekend before she filed as a candidate. She had wide support. It is very common for candidates who decide to run at the last minute to loan their campaigns seed money to prime the well. I imagine those inexperienced in political campaigning wouldn’t be aware of this.

    In the future you might contact me if you need any “FACTS”!

    • Yes, I know that their kickoffs (both Luanne and Knutzen’s) were in the last couple of days, that’s why the PDC does not have their numbers yet. So what I wrote was accurate. Or as you would put it “FACTS”!

      • Is “double entendre” your middle name. Obviously you only received a “gentleman’s C” in your “communications” courses.

      • Wayne – I have known Riley since he was 10, and yes, “double entendre” could be his middle name. He knows how to waggle his eyebrows with the best of them.
        But not in this case – there’s no suggestion of anything untoward in his writing, just helpful information. Thanks for the great reportage, Riley!

  4. Riley…. Van Werven and Knutzen aren’t evidence of any real ‘local split’ in the Republican Party. To quote the Brian Cox in the Bourne Supremacy: “Does that scan? I mean, at all?” The two are tag teaming Satpal Sidhu, who is vastly under financed in comparison to them both. If they are successful, they knock him out in the primaries and any spending they do after sends more of the faithful to the polls to vote for the Republican slate (e.g. against Fleetwood). Van Werven vs. Knutzen amounts to “fake conflict” whether the candidates actually believe this or not. The Republicans used a variant of this strategy in Whatcom County to remove David Stallheim from the General Election for County Executive. Concentrate on the overall numbers: Currently Knutzen + Van Werven is ~30K in contributions (and growing). Satpal has $5K to date. That’s 6 to 1 amplification comes courtesy of the Republicans being smart enough to energize all of their donors by running two candidates simultaneously.

    • Satpal has yet to have his kickoff, where I imagine a majority of his donations will kick in.

      • I would guess a majority of Satpal’s expenditures will be “independent”

    • Satpal is underfunded? The Libertarian candidate is underfunded. All I want is to hear what people have to say, not beg for their hard earned money. I’ve turned down significant donations because it isn’t right for a representative to take so much from any one person or entity. It’s ok though, you don’t have to sell liberty, that stuff does a pretty good job selling itself!

  5. Seamus, look up “nuance” in a dictionary.

  6. […] taking a fine-toothed comb to Sen. Doug Ericksen’s corporate contributions and how the local conservatives split their support between Van Werven and Knutzen, it is only fair I take a look at the 40th legislative […]

  7. […] Jason Overstreet announced his retirement from public office rather suddenly. His calls for WWU President Bruce Shepard to resign were not well received by the Republican leadership and long-time party activist Luanne Van Werven […]

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