Letter to the editor: Outside donations in city council races


Should there be limits on outside donations candidates in Edmonds can accept for fundraising?

I raised this issue back on May 24 in reference to an article that was posted in MEN titled: “Fundraising under way for Edmonds City Council election hopefuls” I commented on the amount of outside money Will Chen was raising for his city council campaign. At that time 80% of Will Chen’s donations came from outside of Edmonds and today that percentage has not changed much. The amount and percentage of outside donations for Will is drastically higher compared to the other candidates.

To date Will Chen has raised over $43,000 compared to Janelle Cass, who has raised almost $39,000. The difference is that 64% of Will’s donations comes from outside of Edmonds compared to Cass who’s outside donations total 12%. Below is an even deeper dive into the donations. If you follow the local money it looks like Cass has a huge advantage from Edmonds voters and Chen’s advantage comes from outside Edmonds. The main questions are “do we support someone who has strong local support or someone who has strong outside support?” I think that answer is an easy one but of course you need to decide:

Number of donors:
Janelle Cass:
-136 total
-122 from Edmonds (89.7%)
-14 not from Edmonds (10.3%)
Will Chen:
-207 total
-76 from Edmonds (36.7%)
-131 not from Edmonds (63.3%)

Number of top donors ($500):

Janelle Cass:
-40 total
-34 from Edmonds (85%)
-6 not from Edmonds (15%)
Will Chen:
-31 total
-7 from Edmonds (22.6%)
-24 not from Edmonds (77.4%)

In my opinion, the additional outside donations allow a candidate to market and spend more money on their campaign, which gives them a competitive advantage. To date Will Chen has spent more money on his campaign than he has raised from the citizens in Edmonds. The irony here is that the outsiders donating the money don’t have skin in the game in regards to the important local issues that face our city today, like the Marsh, the Tree Ordinance, Walkable Main Street, the Housing Commission report, etc.

I feel most of the money raised for a local, non-partisan race should come from the people who live here. Raising most of your campaign funds from local Edmonds citizens demonstrates to voters that you have the support of the people who live here, that you did the hard work locally to being awareness and support to your campaign. We know who the donors are and what they represent. They are our neighbors, friends, family, business owners, etc.

This upcoming election is a very important one regarding the future of Edmonds. We are at a crossroads and have many important issues to address. We need to make sure we vote for candidates that are supported by the people who live in Edmonds and who have a stake in what happens here. Candidates who put Edmonds first above partisan politics. That is why I am voting for Cass, Tibbott and Johnson.

Rod Schick

  1. Well said, Rod! I couldn’t agree more. My Dad always told me to “follow the money!” and he was right on. It applies to our local politics also. My votes are also for Cass, Tibbott and Johnson. This election is so important to the future of Edmonds. Please do your research and mark your ballot from a position of knowledge.

  2. Rod,
    First of thank you for your support. I appreciate your vote.

    You might want to look also look into the contributions for Position 1.
    My opponent has contributions from PACs and Political parties while I do not. In addition to the percentages, you might look at the actual amounts. Together they tell the story.

  3. Correction second paragraph should read : You might want to also look at the contributions for Position 1.

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