Spending for the write-in campaign for Rep. Liz Pike, R-Camas, for Clark County council chair has reached six figures — most of it from one source.
According to the Public Disclosure Commission, the Clark County Republican Party and Write In Liz Pike for County Chair political action committee have spent $106,242.83 on the campaign so far, and that number is likely to rise.
The lion’s share of the support for the campaign has come from a wealthy, and unsurprising, source: Clark County Councilor David Madore.
Since the Clark County Republican Party endorsed Pike in August, the Republican councilor has contributed $205,000 to the party. NoTolls.com, Madore’s political action committee most active during the heyday of the failed Columbia River Crossing bridge project, gave $24,000 to the party in September. David Madore for County Commissioner, which Madore listed as his committee when originally running for his seat on the Clark County commission, gave another $15,000.
The donations cannot legally be made with demands on how the money is spent, but Christian Berrigan, spokesman for the write-in campaign, verified that Madore’s donations will be spent or have already been spent on the campaign.
“I appreciate him being willing to step up to the plate,” he said.
Of the $43,577.28 the Write In Liz Pike for County Chair political action committee has raised, $27,500 is from Madore. The councilor also gave an in-kind donation of telephone polling valued at $11,000.
That brings Madore’s contributions to groups supporting Pike to $292,500.
Neither Madore nor Pike returned a request for comment Tuesday.
Spending for Pike’s write-in campaign, furthermore, has far exceeded the combined totals of chair candidates Democrat Mike Dalesandro and Marc Boldt, no party preference. Dalesandro has raised $18,237.11 and spent $9,928.53, and Boldt has raised $30,573.11 and spent $16,496.01.
“Personally, I just think it’s sad, what has happened to the process,” Boldt said. “I hope the voters will see through it.”
Dalesandro, hinting at the $240,124.20 the PDC reports Madore put into his own failed bid for county chair, said the results of the primary election show voters can’t be swayed by “an amazing amount of money.”
“Money doesn’t necessarily equate to political success,” he said.
Spending highlights of the campaign for Pike:
- $40,000 from the Clark County Republican Party for advertising from Campaign Grid, a Washington, D.C.-based advertising firm.
- $17,584.49 from the Clark County Republican Party for postage from Printing Solutions, a Hillsboro, Ore.-based printing company.
- $17,500 from Write In Liz Pike for County Chair for television ads from The Wickers Group, a San Francisco-based conservative consulting firm. The Clark County Republican Party also spent $10,000 for radio advertising from The Wickers Group.
Berrigan denied that the write-in campaign is trying to buy the county chair race, saying the only way to successfully run a write-in campaign is to “get your message out.”
“How are you going to penetrate without money?” he said.
Madore’s significant contributions bring local spending on par with national politics. A New York Times investigation published Saturday found that 158 families — each of which have contributed $250,000 or more — have provided nearly half the money to support Democratic and Republican presidential candidates for the 2016 election.
When Berrigan was told that funding for the Pike campaign is approaching the quarter-million-dollar level of the country’s biggest donors on the national stage, he said more than 90 percent of the people polled in a recent telephone poll were at least aware of the campaign.
“It’s called getting the job done,” he said.
Update, 9:48 a.m., Wednesday: After press time, the Public Disclosure Commission reported another $30,000 donation from Clark County Councilor David Madore to the Clark County Republican Party. This story has been updated to reflect the new totals.