Posted by: sweeneyblog | August 31, 2014

Sen. Doug Ericksen Raises over $230,000 to fend off Fleetwood

Looking at the primary results, you may think that Sen. Doug Ericksen could comfortably walk to election day. His fundraising record, however, shows that he is in for the fight of his political life. Ericksen has already raised over$230,000 for his reelection campaign, with over $155,275 of that coming from out-of-town special interests.

Here is a sampling of the money coming in. I did my best to break them down by industry, although some companies (i.e. Boeing) are so broad I simply filed them as “business interests.” I also removed any locals (i.e. Brooks Manufacturing) from consideration to illustrate the amount of special interest money coming in.

  • $2,150 from the gun lobby
  • $5,900 from organizations associated with the Gateway Pacific Terminal project
  • $8,250 from the banking and financial industry
  • $9,850 from telecommunication companies
  • $10,850 from pharmaceutical companies
  • $14,950 from the farm, food and beverage industry
  • $18,650 from the energy companies
  • $21,700 from the building and construction industry
  • $23,850 from insurance companies
  • $38,125 from general business interests

Or to look at it another way, here is an simple pie chart that you can share on facebook showing his corporate donations.

Ericksen Donations

Ericksen Donations

Where is he spending all this special interest money? He bought a couple of computers for his campaign, and placed ads in the Lynden Tribune, KGMI, Praise 106.5 and the Lynden Fair. He is paying Ben O’Brine to manage his campaign and Melodie Kirk to doorbell for him. He covered some conference costs (hotels, travel expenses, plane tickets) but beyond that, it is the usual costs of yard signs, printed materials and food and rentals for fundraisers.




  1. I looked at the PDCs for each…the thing that stands out for me is that almost all of Doug’s expenditures are to Whatcom County firms while most of Seth’s major expenditures are to Seattle companies…

    • Fair point! Doug has spent his campaign cash locally.

    • This is a false flag. Just because your expenditures are “local” does not mean you are not buying influence. It is just at a local level. Also, you can get screwed by “local” firms as easily as you do by outside interests, even corporations! On the input side, local campaign dollars coming in can be just as corrupt and have an intent to buy influence with the candidate as “outside” money. Just because something is “local” does not mean it is good or righteous or legal.

      “Local” achieved its present exalted status based on lower energy costs to transport food locally than from California. Even using “local” as including the whole state of Washington is a false flag. As an example, which I point out in my first book BTW, a tomato grown in Whatcom County and transported to farmers markets in Seattle actually has a higher energy footprint than a tomato grown in Fresno and shipped to a supermarket in Seattle. There are all kinds of misinformation in the use of the word “local.” It is a false flag.

      The fact that Senator Ericksen spends his money locally is certainly not an argument for him or against Seth Fleetwood. It is just a false flag.

      • “Just because something is “local” does not mean it is good or righteous or legal”-like crops grown by small farmers in Whatcom county?

  2. Also, looks like almost three times as much is being spent on Seth’s campaign by outside interests…

    • I’m doing a breakdown of Seth’s stuff tomorrow. But for those who want some spoilers – Seth’s donations mainly come from Tribes, Unions and Progressive Groups

  3. If I didn’t already know it, I’d never guess that Seth Fleetwood is running for anything.
    In my daily travels I’ve seen one or two puny yard signs but nothing prominently large in the public right-of-ways like the GOPers are exploiting.
    Not buying local to get yer campaign message out doesn’t speak well for a candidate’s ties to his community and besides,
    the Republican signage I’ve seen is very well designed and maintained which is another good reason to buy it here..
    But he’ll get my vote anyway and probably many others who just won’t vote again for Mr. Ericksen and his scientific agnosticism.
    BTW, shiny mailers with postcard homilies and tired campaign rhetoric – the least effective way to get new supporters, IMO because even if they like you, they hate crap in their mailboxes more.

  4. I actually like both candidates and cannot vote for either (40th). Anyway, compare to Ranker donor list and Jeff Morris. They are all the same(ish). This isn’t really a good issue, IMO. You could put up the same chart for almost any challenger to an incumbent.

    • Seth would caucus with Democrats and probably destroy the coalition caucus, and you have a hard time deciding?

      Are you kidding me?

      • I am not sure I buy the argument of “coalition caucus” even If you buy the argument that those two are dems it still has a real imbalance of representation.

  5. Great graphic and photo, Riley. And great work in breaking all that down for us.

  6. How about reporting on Tom Steyer’s influence on this race?

  7. Why does Sweeney always demonize local employers as something nasty to be supporting the Senator Ericksen?

    Washington Conservation Voters’ have already done 13,000 plus in “Independent Expenditures”to Seth Fleetwood’s campaign

    Last year it must be remembered the Next Gen-Steyer-Conservation Voters did not report their $325,000 in expenditures until Oct 20th.

    If you include Rud Browne who gave 950.00 and listed his employer as Whatcom County and his only job as Council… Indian Tribes, Public Unions and Conservation voters have pumped nearly $40,000 into the Fleetwood campaign.

    There has been no in-kind donation reporting of rent on the Million Dollar Mansion Seth Fleetwood is registered to vote at. This could run $3,000 per month unless he does not reside there.

    • I don’t demonize local employers – I specifically excluded them from this study – like I said in the article. More reading comprehension, less rhetoric Wayne.

      • The rhetoric (an over used term by Democrats) is coming from you.

  8. […] promised in my examination of Sen. Doug Ericksen’s fundraising yesterday, it is only fair that I take a look at Seth Fleetwood’s donations. As a whole, Fleetwood has […]

    • I CAN’T WAIT!

  9. Riley: “I don’t demonize local employers – I specifically excluded them from this study …:

    Senator Ericksen is a Washington State Senator, who, if he consulted with only local employers, would be severely shortchanging his constituency.

    • His constituency is clearly big business – the donations show that.

      • So you are against businesses that provide jobs?

        Would if be better that on welfare recipients were contributing money to his campaign?

        Should Tom Steyer be able to give $1 billion to candidates you believe in man-made global warming?

  10. Sweeney: “His constituency is clearly big business – the donations show that.”

    That is a distortion. the employers he consults with not only contribute to his campaign, they employ thousands of the citizens in his district, his actual constituents. I think that the health of the employers aligns nicely with the interests of their employees, don’t you?

    You imply corrupt influence with your argument, but you have no evidence, either directly or as a result of the actions of the companies with whom Senator Ericksen consults.

    • so than by the same side of the coin, donations from environmental groups and unions are also constituency because they employ and benefit citizens? actually following your logic short of out right quid pro quo there really is no such thing as buying influence?

      • I think that people contribute to candidates who share their world view, and that it would be naive to suggest that businesses don’t contribute to candidates who might vote to reduce onerous regulations, reduce taxes, or make Washington a better state in which to be an employer. Corporations, by the way, are voluntary associations when looked at from a Constitutional point of view.

        Unions, however, are usually in a position to extort dues from their members, many of whom do not share the unions’ political point of view and who would withhold the portion of the dues that is devoted to political causes.

        In many cases, in my opinion, “environmental” groups, many amply fueled by outside money from rich “environmentalists” racked with guilt about their wealth, much of which is derived from investments in coal mines, oil wells, petroleum pipelines, and other “environmentally destructive” [sarc] investments, adversely affect the local political process.

        The recent county council election, heavily influenced by outside money that paid for campaign material containing lies (lies!) about conservative candidates, is a perfect example.

        I think that some “environmental groups” have a negative effect on the political process, on responsive government, and on the welfare of many citizens, particularly on those people in rural Whatcom County or those engaged in agriculture, mining, or forestry.

  11. […] said about campaign finance reform. Fleetwood did not let that stand,“You are the one who has received 2/3rds of your donations from special interests and business PACs, you are the one who is getting the benefit of that, not […]

  12. […] As a reporter following Ericksen’s behavior in the legislature, it is crystal clear who Ericksen works for, and it isn’t us. This vote goes beyond partisanship to just good government. Control of the […]

  13. Hi, I found your blog, while searching for the Working Families PAC. They are spending a lot of money against Seth Fleetwood, do you know who they are?

    • Patriots who don’t want to destroy America.

  14. […] in another $400,000 beyond that. In response, Ericksen raised over $500,000 to defend his seat, a majority of it coming from the fossil fuel industry and the state Republicans (with even more funding from the fossil fuel industry) threw another […]

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