Much of Campaign Money in Clallam Elections Flows Around Port Commissioner Race

By Paul Gottlieb and Jeremy Schwartz, November 2, 2013, Peninsula Daily News

The hottest general election race in Clallam County, judging by campaign contributions, is for a seat on the Port of Port Angeles commission.

Colleen McAleer and Del DelaBarre, candidates for Port of Port Angeles commissioner, raised a combined $40,903 in contributions in their effort to fill incumbent Commissioner Paul McHugh’s District 1 seat, according to the state Public Disclosure Commission, or PDC.

In addition, committees for and against a Clallam County Fire District No. 2 levy lid lift, or levy increase, raised a combined $17,700, with anti-levy forces raising more than twice as much as proponents.

Otherwise, it’s been quiet on the campaign-contribution front this election season.

Votes will be counted Tuesday.

McAleer, 46, the port’s director of business development, far outdistanced her opponent in contributions, garnering $25,961 to DelaBarre’s $14,942 as of Monday, the most recent filing day with the PDC.

No other candidates in the general election in Clallam County other than McAleer and DelaBarre, 75, an event services company co-owner, filed expenditure reports with the PDC as of Monday.

McAleer, whose whistle-blower complaint was central to the June 24 resignation of Port Executive Director Jeff Robb and an internal report highly critical of his administration, garnered 4,003 votes, or 59 percent, in the Aug. 6 primary, in which only Sequim-area District 1 voters cast ballots.

DelaBarre had 1,449 votes, or 24.76 percent, while incumbent Paul McHugh had 906 votes, or 15.48 percent, which eliminated him from the general election.

McAleer said last week the primary results make her hopeful about the general election but that she would not bet on being victorious.

McAleer

The biggest single contributor to McAleer’s campaign is John David Crow, chairman of Port Angeles-based Green Crow Corp., a timberland investment company, who gave $3,000.

Armstrong Marine, a boat manufacturer in Port Angeles, contributed $2,000.

McAleer said if she is elected, she will recuse herself from any votes that involve contributors.

McAleer, who loaned her campaign $3,700, said she will resign her port position whether or not she wins.

She spent her campaign contributions on a combination of radio ads, signs and mailers, she said.

DelaBarre’s support by the Clallam County Democratic Party “really got him quite a few endorsements,” McAleer said.

“I am an independent, and I don’t think this should be a partisan-type situation.”

DelaBarre

DelaBarre, whose contributions include $1,000 from the Jamestown S’Klallam tribe, $600 from the Olympic Labor Council and $500 each from the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe and the Clallam County Democratic Central Committee, said he was proud of that support.

He said that as of Thursday, his campaign had a total of about $17,000-$18,000 in contributions.

DelaBarre said it “kind of bothers” him that McAleer received contributions from port tenants.

McAleer’s larger pool of contributions “absolutely” gives her an advantage, he added.

DelaBarre, who loaned his campaign $1,000, spent about $5,000 on one mailer and nothing on paid broadcast or newspaper advertising, he added.

“In my case, I don’t have the name recognition, so it was really important that we did a good-size mailing,” he said.

“Politics has become very expensive,” he added.

Candidates in races in which there are 5,000 or more registered voters must register with the PDC, agency spokeswoman Lori Anderson said.

Candidates who raise more than $5,000 in those races must file contribution and expenditure reports with the PDC.

Anyone who raises less than that falls under “mini-reporting” guidelines under which they do not have to report their contributions to the PDC, though no one other than the candidate can contribute more than $500 to his or her campaign.

Fire district levy lid lift

Fire District No. 2 is seeking a levy increase of 39 cents per $1,000 of property valuation to $1.15 per $1,000 to pay for full-time firefighter-paramedics and 24/7 fire and emergency services coverage.

Eric Foth, chairman of Citizens Against Fire District 2 Levy, said the biggest chunk of money his committee spent was probably on the between 5,000 and 6,000 mailers sent out opposing the levy.

Foth’s committee raised about $12,050 as of last week, according to state PDC records, and spent $6,962.

Foth said his committee did not expect to spend much more as Tuesday approaches, adding that he thought the campaign against the levy has gone well.

When asked about his committee raising roughly twice as much as the committee supporting the levy, Foth said that probably happened because people are concerned about a potential tax increase.

“It’s up to the voters to decide if they want a tax increase,” Foth said.

The Committee to Support Clallam County Fire District 2, the committee formed in favor of the levy’s passage, had raised $5,650 as of Thursday, committee treasurer Dan Huff said.

Huff said $5,535 has been spent so far, with the most, about $2,360, spent on pro-levy signs.

Money also was spent on fliers volunteers passed out while going door to door within the coverage area of Fire District No. 2 trying to generate support for the levy, Huff said.

“We’re very optimistic our levy is going to pass,” he added.

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