About one-third of the campaign donations U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, received in the months of April, May and June came from political action committees, while the rest came from individual donors, according to her latest campaign finance report filed with the Federal Election Commission.
During that three-month period, the first-term congresswoman raised more than $183,000 from PACs and individuals, bringing her election fundraising total to more than $1.2 million. The other two candidates in the race, Democrat Jon Haugen of Vancouver, and nonpartisan Norma Stevens of Ocean Park, have not been required to file fundraising reports because they've yet to raise $5,000.
"Jaime takes nothing for granted," Herrera Beutler's spokesman, Casey Bowman, wrote in an email last week. "She knows she must earn residents' votes. She has no plans to let up before Election Day."
Forty-two PACs donated about $64,000 to Herrera Beutler during the last quarter. That in
cludes a $5,000 donation from the political action committee for the National Beer Wholesalers Association, and a $5,000 donation from Every Republican is Crucial, a leadership PAC affiliated with U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va.
Also spending significant cash on Herrera Beutler's campaign for re-election is the employee PAC for McKesson, a pharmaceutical distribution and health care corporation, and the Tuesday Group, a fundraising organization created to support centrist House Republicans.
Of the roughly 350 contributions Herrera Beutler received during the most recent quarter, more than half were from people donating $250 or less. Nearly 100 contributions came from donors with a Vancouver mailing address, more than 20 came from donors in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area, nearly 20 were from donors in Seattle and about 15 were from donors in Portland.
During the 2011-12 election cycle, Herrera Beutler has raised $872,878 from individual campaign donors and $374,992 from political action committees, according to the Federal Election Commission's website. The Weyerhaeuser and Boeing PACs have donated $10,000 each to her campaign for re-election.
On May 25, Herrera Beutler's campaign received 63 donations that totaled more than $38,000. That's the day she hosted a campaign kickoff event in Vancouver featuring House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. Her campaign estimates the total amount raised through the kickoff was about $50,000 because some donations came in before or after the day of the event, Bowman said.
Those participating in Herrera Beutler's fundraiser could attend a photo reception with Boehner for $1,000 each, and they could pay $50 to attend a luncheon. The Columbian was barred from reporting from inside the event because Boehner has a policy that fundraising events be closed to the press.
The lunch, which took place inside the ballroom of the Red Lion Hotel Vancouver at the Quay, reportedly included pasta, cheesecake and coffee. Herrera Beutler's campaign spent more than $10,000 on the event, according to the FEC report.
Contributions received on May 25 include $2,000 from the National Alliance of Forest Owners PAC, $2,500 from Pacific Seafood's PAC of Clackamas, Ore., $2,500 from Dennis January, owner of Taco Bell franchise Pacific Bells Inc., and $2,500 from Anna January, who shares the same mailing address as Dennis January.
Fundraising by challengers
Herrera Beutler's challengers have struggled with fundraising. Stevens, who wants to do away with the country's two-party political system and therefore cannot rely on the backing of either party, has raised less than $5,000.
Haugen has had a similar challenge. He identifies himself as a Democrat but was unable to receive the nomination from state or Clark County Democrats during the party's state convention last month. Since then, he has gained support of Democrats in the 18th and 49th legislative districts, and Cowlitz County Democrats.
"Fundraising remains a challenge," Haugen said by email on Wednesday. He receives a constant trickle of $25 or $50 donations through his website, and said there is no way he could match Herrera Beutler's ability to raise thousands "in a single evening through corporate sponsorship."
Haugen said he predicts Herrera Beutler will bring in about 65 percent of the primary vote while he will get about 35 percent.
The biggest fundraising competitor to Herrera Beutler was Democrat Elizabeth Uelmen, a career educator who dropped out of the race in April. She had raised more than $42,000, according to the FEC's website. More than $26,000 of that came from individual contributions, $13,000 came from PACs, and $2,000 came directly from a political party.