Reader view: Candidates are stepping up to the campaign pledge

A request was made that candidates who are seeking public office in Edmonds pledge to contribute their unused campaign contributions to a local charity/nonprofit of their choice. The full article about the pledge can be found here (Reader view: Will candidates pledge to support charities? – My Edmonds News).

I’m reporting with great pleasure that almost all of our mayoral and city council candidates have taken the pledge. This bodes well for the character of the individuals seeking to represent us.

While it’s understood that local campaigns are run on rather lean budgets, for charities and nonprofits, every little bit helps. Besides, this is more than just about the money. It’s a reflection of what we value as a community. So, this is a true win for our community, regardless of the election results.

It’s been almost a month since the original Reader View piece was posted. Every effort was made to ensure each candidate was aware of the request. For those candidates who did not unilaterally step up and may not have been aware originally, they were directly contacted via their official address posted with the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission (Candidates | Washington State Public Disclosure Commission (PDC)). One or two “reminders” were also sent to those who did not respond. All were informed with ample notice that this tally was being posted today  So as of 8 a.m., Saturday, June 3, here are the pledges:

Mayoral candidates:

Diane Buckshnis – Yes

Mike Nelson – No response

Mike Rosen – Yes

Brad Shipley – Yes

City Council candidates:

Michelle Dotsch – Yes

Chris Eck – Yes

Kevin Fagerstrom – Yes

Mackey Guenther – Yes

Jenna Nand – Yes

Vivian Olson – Yes

Susan Paine – Yes

Roger Pence – Yes

Please reach out to them and congratulate them for stepping up and taking the pledge. Now it’s our turn, as citizens, to listen to the candidates, educate ourselves and vote for the candidates who best reflect our individual values and interests and those of our community. Good luck to all.

— By Jim Ogonowski

Author Jim Ogonowski lives in Edmonds.

  1. It seems appropriate for me to post this reminder of what I previously commented:
    “Funds remaining from this year’s campaign should only be donated if the candidate is ending their political career. If that’s not the case the funds were donated for campaigning so they should be retained for use in their next campaign.”

  2. There is no shortage of good causes in Edmonds, and it is easy to get swept up in the excitement of which to support in this way. I zeroed out my account last cycle, and I have committed to donating any balance in this election.

    However, there is more I need to understand about our election system before I would endorse this pledge for myself or others going forward:

    How much is money from past campaigns relied on when a candidate seeks higher office? Would a start from zero affect all candidates the same— or would it disproportionately affect those who were third party or unaffiliated? If the impact is felt disproportionately by third party and unaffiliated candidates, is that an acceptable outcome when the system already favors candidates from the major parties in many other ways? Do zero balances discourage good candidates from seeking higher office? Is discouraging good candidates from running for higher office an acceptable outcome?

    We should have our eyes open to all implications of this before we establish this pledge as the new normal.

    Maybe there is merit in candidate support through campaign contributions being used for… candidate support.

  3. I’m not 100% sure what this great controversy is all about except I’d say, over all, we have a fairly money oriented system for choosing our leaders and many of the results of our elections reflect that in the end. Why do supposedly intelligent people send a self proclaimed multi billionaire millions of their hard to come by dollars to support his election to public office? Or, why does one candidate need a $50,000+ war chest to try to become our mayor, when others seem to be able to seek the office for hundreds of dollars less? My only conclusion is that mostly B.S. seems to come at a rather high cost to those who choose to pay for it. Personally I’m ready to cough up for more substance and less B.S.

    1. Controversy, what controversy?
      We elect individuals to represent us and make important decisions on our behalf. This request for candidates to pledge their unspent campaign contributions to a local charity/non-profit of their choice was simply asking them to make a decision. We can judge whether the decision they make fits our values. Have they decided to support the local community or to build a war chest? We all know that many have contributed to a candidate and eventually had “voter’s regret” when, once elected, they don’t fulfill their campaign promises and wish we hadn’t voted for the individual in the first place. That candidate may have carried over the campaign contribution for their next election, for which we may not support. Fair?
      As an independent, I happen to believe that starting each campaign fresh, when we know who the candidates are, is the best option. And supporting the community they seek to represent is always a good thing.

    2. I’m trying to figure out whom you are speaking of with your “self proclaimed multi-billionaire” comment. Also, ALL candidates raise money for their campaigns, and $50,000 is in no way out of line as compared to past mayoral candidates. Mike Nelson raised $57,000 ($68,000) in today’s dollars, and Dave Earling raised $62,400 ($84,000 in today’s dollars). Rosen is a first time candidate without the name recognition of the other candidates. Isn’t successful fund raising (160 donors) a sign of a strong candidate whose message is resonating with voters?

  4. Starting from scratch evens the playing field sure we could have a rich person run that needs no contribution. We can have outside influence that favors one candidate over the other, nothing in life is fair. Really with our local elections effort outpaces money. I want candidates that earn my vote not candidates that can put out the most fliers or campaign signs. Word of mouth is always the best advertising. I can see good leaders require very little money to be reelected or even to seek higher office. Hate to see a poor leader like our mayor win reelection because he can bring prior money to the table.

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