Posted by: sweeneyblog | October 8, 2014

Sen. Doug Ericksen Wastes Thousands in Campaign Contributions

Sen. Doug Ericksen

Sen. Doug Ericksen

Despite being in a tight race, Sen. Doug Ericksen seems to be wasting thousands of donor dollars. I’ve done some digging into Ericksen’s campaign expenditures and while the incumbent senator in the 42nd district has raised a lot of money, he has made some odd decisions on how it should be spent.

As I covered last year, smart political campaigns know that every dollar should be spent on voter contact. Of course you have to pay the bills, hire a campaign manager and throw a few fundraisers. But mostly you need to be conserving resources for ads and voter outreach.

It is the sign of an undisciplined campaign to spend money on frivolous things that won’t help win the election. People who give money to candidates would be well advised to keep an eye on these things to make sure that their money isn’t being wasted.

I haven’t given any money to Doug Ericksen this election cycle. But if I had, I would ask for it back. Here’s what I found:


Frisbees – $1050.  In general, things with the candidate’s name on them that can only be seen by one person are a bad idea. Yard signs, t-shirts and bumper stickers are a marginal investment at best. Ordering over 1,500 of these things? You’ve got to be kidding me.


Rangers Soccer, “Community Advertising” – $425.  I don’t know what one gets for $425 dollars worth of advertising with Ranger’s soccer. But it isn’t placement on their website, which lists Walton Beverage, Alcoa and Gatorade. It is worth knowing that Rangers Soccer is the local competitive youth soccer team and that Doug’s facebook page features pictures of his daughter playing soccer in a Ranger’s jersey.

I got in touch with a friend who’s children also play on a competitive team, and they said “That sounds like travel expenses. There are always tournaments and the kids have to raise money for travel expenses.  Sometimes they do a golf tournament, sometimes they do carwashes to raise the money.” It is difficult to confirm but it looks like Ericksen is using his campaign account to pay for his daughter’s soccer trip.

Meals – As was reported in The Stand, Doug Ericksen has apparently been eating out of his campaign account. He has spent over $1200 of campaign funds on meals at restaurants.

Video Equipment – $1137.90. This equipment has apparently been used to make a series of YouTube videos (see here) which are jittery, sloppy pieces of work with only 40 views. There are four other videos on the Ericksen’s YouTube channel. That means they cost $227 each. They have a a combined total of 652 views which includes his campaign staff, presumably his opponent and his staff, and me.  If you take out the people whose job it is to watch these videos and people who watch them more than once (I’m responsible for at least 4 or 5 views), he’s probably reached between 150 and 200 people, most of whom had already made up their minds. I wonder who gets to keep the equipment at the end of the campaign?


Rodeo Sponsorship – $2000 – I was willing to cut Ericksen some slack on this one – Buys bought the sponsorship too – but after uncovering all the other frivolous expenses, this had to go back on the list. $2,000 can buy a great deal of flyers and doorbelling material – to blow all that money on a banner and mention at the Rodeo seems somewhere between vain and foolish.

Parking in Ferndale – $12  For this puzzle, I had to enlist the help of former Bellingham Herald reporter Sam Taylor who is now the City Clerk of Ferndale. After some sleuthing, we determined it wasn’t a parking ticket but merely a day of parking at one of the Diamond lots in Ferndale. I’m not aware of any law against spending campaign money to pay a candidate’s parking and it isn’t a lot of money, but it sure seems like bad form.

So what is the point? I think these are symptoms of a candidate not taking a race seriously. The Political Junkie has heard rumors that he isn’t working very hard on this campaign, and this information corroborates those rumors.

By contrast, the list of expenses on Seth Fleetwood’s side is much shorter. His expenses are almost entirely payroll, printing and mailing. Of course, Seth has to run a tighter ship, he has less money and it’s hard to defeat a 16 year incumbent. He has to do more with less.

It is an interesting contrast between the two men striving to represent the increasing frugal 42nd district.



  1. Fleetwood’s been spending on what I think (but, hey, I’m biased) is an effective ad in which a couple talk about why they’re not voting for Doug this time.

    • It’s called NEGATIVE campaigning.

      What is Seth going to do if he gets a large check from Tom S?

  2. I would be interested in seeing your comments on Seth’s “much shorter- list of expenses”.

    You seem to have the “inside track” with both current and former Herald employees. First feeding negative information about Nick Evans to Ralph Schwartz for his Herald hit piece yesterday and then Sam Taylor for you column today.

    After reading all this trivia I have decided to double my efforts to keep Seth in the “40th” where he belongs.

    • Ralph does his own stories – I had no idea about Nick Evans domestic violence charges and DUI until I read about it in the paper. I don’t feed reporters stories, if I’ve got something, I do the research and publish it myself.

      Sam Taylor I consulted in his role as Ferndale City Clerk, like it says in my article.

      • “I read about it in the paper”-you stole that line from Barack Obama.

    • Lol, Wayne Frauder is such a moron. He loves making a fool of himself. I think Nick Evans provided the negative info for his piece when he started beating his wife.

      Nice to see Frauder living up to his Fraud nickname. All about personal responsibility and liberty while defending wife beaters, drunk drivers, and funding movies that no one watches. Does he ever leave his house?

      • Questions for Jake the GENIUS:

        1. Why the ad hominem attack?

        2. i don’t recall Nick being accused of beating his (ex) wife? Unless you call pouring a beer on her or shoving her a form of beating.

        3. Do you ever leave your ipad?

        4. Can’t you spell Farber Panders (to the Left)

      • That’s the fun of being accused of DV in the newspaper,
        it means you beat your wife or maybe an ex-wife or a kid or somebody.
        Surely it means you’ve beaten somebody and now you’re a violent woman hater unfit for polite company and everybody knows that.
        Why even read the allegations or bother to point out that nothing has been proven in court?
        After all,
        if it’s in the Herald and it’s not about anyone important,
        you know it’s been thoroughly researched and found to be true so there’s no harm in printing it.
        You can even add your own reporterish touches like having Elfo comment on an alleged comment and then you can comment on that comment and it’s all news, isn’t it.
        Hoo cares what the real implications are of your report because true or false,
        it’s far easier than reporting the truth later from a trial and since
        it’s all news,
        that makes it newsworthy.
        Doesn’t it.

  3. Fluffy, not stuffy…

  4. Riley: Thanks for the interesting information on how Ericksen has chosen to utilize some of his campaign contributions.

    What bothers me about the frisbee-spending is that the promotional product company Ericksen used, 4All Promos, is located in Centerbrook, CT. Couldn’t Ericksen at least have used a local company, or even a company in our state? A quick check on the internet showed a company in Bellingham called Bellingham Promotional Products. It offers about 20 different types of frisbees.

    Another bad choice in a long line of bad choices from Doug Ericksen. Of course, out of state campaign frisbee purchasing is a mild bad choice compared to his legislative actions and advocacy for the oil industry, and his advocacy for coal terminal projects and the companies related to those.

    Below are some examples of coal terminal-related campaign contributions to Ericksen which help to enable his seemingly wasteful spending on such items as promotional frisbees.

    –Pacific International Terminals (Gateway Pacific Terminal applicant) contributed:
    $500 on 9/12/2014
    $950 on 8/1/2014

    –BNSF made 2 contributions of $950 each (pri and gen) on 7/19/2014

    –Millennium Bulk Terminals (Longview coal terminal) contributed $950 on 9/5/2014

    –Washington Assoc. of Realtors which is a big supporter of GPT contributed:
    $950 on 7/30/2014
    $950 on 10/2/2014

    –Association of Washington Business which is a big supporter of GPT contributed $950 on 7/2/2014. Fun fact–SSA Marine VP Bob Watters and BNSF’s Johan Hellman (Executive Director of State Government Affairs) are on the AWB board

    –Puget Sound Pilots which is a supporter of GPT contributed $950 on 8/28/2014

    –And an honorable mention–not to be forgotten, former spokesperson for Alliance for Northwest Jobs and Edelman VP Corporate and Public Affairs, Lauri Henessey contributed $75 on 8/1/2014

    • “Couldn’t Ericksen at least have used a local company, or even a company in our state”?

      Maybe it was cheaper and Doug wanted to keep his “frivolous things” at the lowest cost.

      Is all you people can do is TRY to connect the dots between COAL and FRISBEES? LOL!!!!!! 🙂

  5. Let’s see:

    “frivolous things”-$5824.90 divided by total spent-$84,276.40=6.91%

    “frivolous things”-$5424.90 divided by total contributions received and reported-$282,502.58=2.06%

    So who is being frivolous? Maybe you.

  6. Campaign finances reflect candidates’ values. Once again seeing Senator Ericksen spend money raised by Phizer, WalMart, Monsanto (to name a few of his Special Interest contributors – see more on the PDC) on frivolous and selfish things is disheartening. Re-election will lead to more meals out with lobbyists, while refusing to meet with constituents from Planned Parenthood and other important social services. Seth Fleetwood has raised grassroots funds from local constituents, spent to support campaign staff (to keep these important jobs accessible), and for literature to get his message out to folks on both sides of the isle. He will display this dedication to the concerns of all constituents if elected to our State Senate. It is time to get the special interests of oil, big pharma, and genetically modified crops out of the 42nd district and elect someone who represents us.

    • Everybody is a “special interest”.

      Will Seth meet with Pfizer (note correct spelling), Walmart and Monsanto?

      Incumbents are typically sought out by all types of contributors-individual and corporate, that’s life. If Seth were to win I am sure his phones will be ringing of the hook.

      What are you going to say if one of Tom Steyer’s money-laundering organizations drops a truckload of cash on the doorstep of Seth’s million dollar rental home?

  7. Frisbees or no, Seth loses this race
    by about 8 points. So who’s ultimately wasting money?

    • My dog could use a new frisbee, though.

    • You got it.

      • Fantastic, thanks!

  8. […] everyone down. “If we can ever calculate how much money has been spent on either side, on t-shirts alone, do we really want to go through that? Do we want zero things there, or do we need to rezone […]

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