Arrow-right Camera


Winners spent less, reports show

Mon., Dec. 17, 2007

A winning vote in the Spokane mayor’s race cost $4.24, while a losing vote cost $10.75. Winners also spent less than losers in two of the city’s council races, the most recent campaign spending reports from the 2007 election show.

Mayor Mary Verner and Councilman-elect Richard Rush proved that a candidate doesn’t always have to raise and spend more than an opponent to win. Verner spent less than half what incumbent Dennis Hession spent in winning the city’s top elective position, while Rush spent about a third less than incumbent Brad Stark in winning a council seat in south Spokane’s District 2.

Councilman Steve Corker spent a bit more than opponent Lewis Griffin in the northwest Spokane’s District 3 but paid a bit less per vote. The two candidates were fairly close in both campaign expenses and vote totals.

Those details can be found by studying the post-election campaign reports from Spokane’s 2007 municipal elections.

Post-election reports on northeast Spokane’s District 1 are incomplete, but incumbent Councilman Bob Apple spent more, and more per vote, than challenger Donna McKereghan.

The state Public Disclosure Commission’s Web site doesn’t have expense summaries for Apple, who insisted several times during the election season that his campaign was filling out forms by hand and mailing them in. A PDC spokeswoman said it was doubtful they would have been lost if mailed to the proper address.

Apple’s contribution reports filed in mid-October, however, showed he had raised just under $7,000 at that point, which matches what he estimated at the time he would spend. McKereghan reported she spent $1,379 on her campaign.

Although final reports remain to be filed in several contests, the 2007 mayor’s race will likely not go down as the most expensive in Spokane’s history. That distinction still belongs to the city’s first contest under the strong-mayor system in 2000.

That year, John Powers, John Talbott and Jim West spent more than $579,400 total, with Powers, the eventual winner, spending $310,500 on his campaign.

Hession, Verner and Councilman Al French, who finished third in the August primary, spent a total of $453,164, the latest campaign reports show. Of that, Hession spent $277,300.

The latest reports also showed that two loans to Hession’s campaign, which were criticized late in the campaign, were repaid two weeks after the election.

Hession borrowed a total of $35,000 in early October to help pay for television commercials timed to coincide with voters’ receipt of ballots in the mail. Among the lenders was Mike Ormsby, a local attorney.

That loan drew criticism, especially on a local talk radio show, because Ormsby had served as the attorney for the foundation which sold bonds for the River Park Square garage, a project that embroiled the city in a tangle of litigation from 1999 to 2004. But Ormsby and Hession both said they never discussed River Park Square and that the loan was a result of some 20 years of friendship.

Both said they expected the loans to be repaid as contributions continued to come into the campaign.

Hession’s campaign reports show that the $10,000 loan from Ormsby and another $10,000 loan from Tom Paine, a senior executive from Avista Corp., were repaid in November, two weeks after the election.

The campaign still has an outstanding loan of $15,000 from Steven B. Smith, an executive for a company that locates and builds cell towers, and his wife, Theresa Smith.


Click here to comment on this story »