July 9, 2011 in City

Funds growing in race for Spokane mayor

By The Spokesman-Review
 

With about six weeks to go before the August primary, one challenger for the job of Spokane mayor has raised almost twice as much as incumbent Mary Verner.

The other three challengers, however, haven’t raised anything.

David Condon, who said he planned to raise about $400,000 for the campaign to be the city’s chief executive, got about a fourth of the way there in the first two months of campaigning, according to state Public Disclosure Commission records. He reported contributions of more than $99,000, a total fueled in part by 55 donations that hit the maximum of $800 for either the primary or the general.

Among them was $800 from U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, whom he served as deputy chief of staff until taking a leave of absence, and another $1,600 – split between the primary and the general election – from CMR Political Action Committee, her congressional leadership PAC. Among others giving $800, the maximum under state law, were Jim Cowles, chairman of Inland Empire Paper Co. and a member of the family that owns The Spokesman-Review, and Cowles’ wife, Wanda.

Verner has raised about $53,400 in cash and received another $6,400 from “in-kind” contribution of services, supplies and food for fundraisers. Among her top contributors are Don Barbieri, a local businessman and developer; the plasterers and cement masons’ union; CH2M Hill, a local engineering firm that contracts with city government; and Robert Harless of Douglas, Ga., her former flight instructor and a longtime friend.

Although he leads all candidates in money, Condon sent out an appeal to supporters this week saying he needs to raise $102,000 in the next 40 days.

“With 5 candidates in the race, I have to make sure I’m in one of the top two spots,” he wrote in an email appeal.

Condon and Verner are in a five-way primary on Aug. 16; under state law, the top two vote-getters move on to the general election in November.

They share the ballot with Mike Noder, the owner of a local demolition business; Barbara Lampert, a former nurse’s assistant who runs for some office every year; and Robert Kroboth, a former debt collector and occasional candidate who eschews media interviews and campaign debates.

None has reported raising any money, and Lampert and Kroboth usually have minimal expenses after paying their filing fees.

Noder, who ran for mayor in 2007, said he isn’t taking contributions.

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