Comparatively modest campaign money in 24th District races

By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News

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List of North Olympic Peninsula contributions

Here’s a list of campaign contributions of $100 or more as of Oct. 22 from Clallam and Jefferson counties to candidates running for three 24th District seats in the state House and Senate.

The full list of contributions is available from the state Public Disclosure Commission website via

Larry Carter

■   $500: Brett Oemichen, Port Ludlow.

■   $400: Sharon Commander, Port Ludlow.

■   $300: Security Services Northwest Inc., Sequim; Daniel Shotthafer, Port Angeles; J. (Gene) E. Farr, Port Townsend.

■   $250: Brett Oemichen, Port Ludlow.

■   $200: Republican Women of Jefferson County; Shold Excavating Inc., Port Hadlock; Jerry Hampton, Daniel J. Meade, Port Ludlow.

■   $120: Craig Durgan, Port Ludlow.

■   $100: Myron Burkhardt, Michael R. Forrest, Laurie Hampton, John F. Lynch, Sharon B. Lynch, Eve McDougall, Kevin G. Ryan, Pauline J. Stearns, John Weaver, Herbert W. West, Port Ludlow; Karen R. Farr, Rich Gastfield, Geoffrey S. Masci, Vintage Hardware, Port Townsend; R.C. McGonigel, Sequim.

Jim Hargrove

■   $1,000: Wilder Auto Center, Port Angeles.

■   $210: Dan Wilder, Port Angeles.

■   $200: Linda DeBord, Port Angeles.

■   $100: Four Corners Mini-Storage, Port Townsend; Lucille E. Rice, Sequim; Jonathan Shotwell, Port Angeles.

Steve Tharinger

■   $450: Mike Reichner, Rosalind Reichner, Sequim.

■   $300: Earl Archer, Tom Locke, Len Lewicki, Sequim.

■   $250: Robert Lake, Port Angeles; Ron Allen, Sequim.

■   $200: Dale Rudd, Sequim.

■   $150: Carrie Kalina, Sequim; Mickie Vail, Port Angeles.

■   $125: Jan Tierney, Randy Tierney, Sequim.

■   $100: Marian Birch, Glenn Harper, Jean Hordyk, Patty Morris, Peggy M. Norris, Laura O’Neal, Port Angeles; Sue Deshazer, Dale Faulstich, Clover Gowing, Sylvia Hancock, Steven Lange, Susan Molina, John Pollock, Diane Salyer, Ann Seiter, Kathy Strozyk, Lelani Sundt, Walter Trial, James Williams, Nancy Woolley, Sequim; John Fabian, Port Ludlow; Michael Felber, Ruth Gordon, Ian Keith, Andy McGregor, Jan North, George Randels, Linda Sutton, Linda Yakush, George Yount, Port Townsend; Connie Gallant, J.D. Gallant, Quilcene.

Steve Gale

■   $250: Republican Women of Clallam County, Port Angeles.

■   $200: Claudia Cookson, Port Angeles.

■   $100: Kaj Ahlburg, Dick Pilling, Port Angeles; J. Bennett, Janette Chrysler, Jim McIntire, Sequim

Kevin Van De Wege

■   $750: Irwin Dental Center, Port Angeles.

■   $200: Dana Shaltry Larry Temres, Port Angeles.

■   $150: M. Kent Shellenberger, Sequim.

■   $100: Heidi C. Brandt, Stig K. Osterberg, Port Townsend; Nancy A. Peet, Randy E. Tierney, Sequim.
By Paul Gottlieb

Peninsula Daily News

For all the campaign contributions that have poured into three 24th State Legislative District races — the vast majority to incumbents — it’s been a quiet election season, candidates agreed.

Five of the candidates are from Clallam and Jefferson counties, an area that accounts for 78 percent of eligible voters in a district that also includes two-thirds of Grays Harbor County.

Incumbent state Reps. Steve Tharinger and Kevin Van De Wege of Sequim and state Sen. Jim Hargrove of Hoquiam, all Demo­crats, have raised $212,337 of the $230,574 raised in campaign contributions by all the candidates— much of it from political action committees — that were filed as of Oct. 22 with the state Public Disclosure Commission.

Hargrove has raised $93,208, listing six contributors from the North Olympic Peninsula and 40 contributions of $900 each, only one of which was from an individual, a Spokane resident.

Hargrove’s challenger, Larry Carter of Port Ludlow, who has no party preference, has raised $12,935, the bulk of it from Jefferson County.

Tharinger has raised $53,951, listing 46 contributors from Clallam and Jefferson counties from among 252 contributions.

He has received 22 contributions of $900 each, none of them from individuals — and none of them from the North Olympic Peninsula.

Tharinger’s challenger, Republican Steve Gale of Sequim, has raised $5,302, about half of which is his own money, and lists 10 of his 11 contributors as being from Port Angeles and Sequim.

Van De Wege has raised $65,178, listing eight contributors from the North Olympic Peninsula, most of them dentists.

Independent write-in candidate Craig Durgan of Port Ludlow, who is running against Van De Wege, one of the most powerful Democrats in the House, has purposely not raised a cent — though he said last week he did receive a $25 contribution he had yet to cash with two weeks to go before the Nov. 6 general election.

Van De Wege-Durgan

Van De Wege, 38, a firefighter-paramedic with Clallam County Fire District No. 3, has designated more than half of his contributions to the Democratic Party, he said.

He has mailed out one solicitation for money from political action committees but, like Durgan, has neither sought individual contributions nor spent any funds on campaign fliers or advertisements, he said.

“Our race isn’t much about money,” said Van De Wege, the fourth-ranking Democrat in the House.

“It’s been a silent campaign.

“PACs have sent me a lot of money, but not in any way am I using that to get my name out and say in any way that Craig is a bad person.”

Durgan, 55, a chief engineer who will be in South Korea on business on Election Day, said he had an obligation to run after 937 people, mostly from Clallam County, put his name down as a write-in candidate during the uncontested Aug. 7 primary election for Van De Wege’s Position 1 House seat.

The signatures qualified him for the ballot.

He has not campaigned door-to-door but has spent his own money on nearly 400 campaign signs and has appeared at campaign forums, he said.

“I’m doing it all for under $500,” said Durgan, who unsuccessfully ran as a Republican against Van De Wege in the 2010 primary.

He criticized Van De Wege for receiving the vast majority of his funding from outside the district.

“To me, that’s an indication he doesn’t serve the residents of District 24 as much as he does all those other contributors,” Durgan said.

Van De Wege said PACs donate money whether candidates ask for it or not.

“Everyone has access to me,” he added.

His contributions include $750 from Irwin Dental Center in Port Angeles, which had a fundraiser for Van De Wege in 2011, Van De Wege said.

Dr. Todd Irwin, who owns Irwin Dental Center, said the state dental association asked him to hold the fundraiser.

The Washington Dental Association PAC donated $1,800 to Van De Wege’s campaign.

Van De Wege sits on the House Health Care and Wellness Committee.

“Anything they need to pass legislation would probably go across his desk,” Irwin said.

“The state dental association, with their political agenda, has several legislators they were interested in, and he was one of them.”


Tharinger, 63, said his advantage over Gale in campaign contributions for the 24th District’s Position 2 seat in the House is a sign of his own success as a first-term legislator.

“It’s partly from having spent two years in the Legislature, and people, I think, know the work I’ve done there and realize I am balanced and pragmatic in my solutions,” he said.

Gale, on the other hand, is a “rookie,” Tharinger said.

“It doesn’t seem like he’s got much of a presence as far as ads, signs, mailers — the normal stuff that makes a campaign, that raises the profile of a campaign,” he said.

“There are a lot of interests, obviously, that need to be addressed in a democracy,” Tharinger said of his PAC money.

“Money does not influence my vote in any way.”

Tharinger has sent out a districtwide mailer but has not run any TV, radio or newspaper advertising, pointing to the lack of a high-profile campaign from Gale and the Aug. 7 primary results, in which Tharinger garnered 57.5 percent of the vote to Gale’s 42.5 percent.

“It didn’t seem to make a lot of sense with how full the cycle is with all the issues and with all the candidates to drain resource with more information,” Tharinger said.

Gale, 45, a senior operations manager in the chemical industry and a small-business owner, moved to Sequim in January.

He has not openly solicited campaign contributions, he said.

“I don’t think it should be a struggle to raise more money to get elected but should be a vote of the people that gets you elected,” he said.

Gale has spent campaign funds on a printed mailer and signs and counts on media coverage of campaign-related events, he said.

“I’ve led a grass-roots campaign trying to get people out there to propagate the information,” he added.

That Tharinger has raised many campaign contributions from outside of the district from entities such as PACs raises the question of who Tharinger is representing, Gale said.

“I’ve heard that time and again from the campaign trail, and some of that is a concern to me.”


Hargrove, 59, who is the largest recipient of contributions among all six candidates, called the race “cheap” by statewide standards, with some legislative races costing upward of $300,000 or $400,000.

“This is a very modest race by that standard,” he said.

Groups such as the state restaurant association, which gave Hargrove $750, and unions — Service Employees International Union 1199 NW, which represent 332 health care workers at Olympic Medical Center, gave Hargrove $1,800 — are affiliated with many of his own constituents, he said.

Hargrove, a self-employed professional forester, said it’s not his fault there’s a 7-1 disparity in campaign contributions between him and Carter.

“It’s not my fault nobody else gave him any money other than a few friends of his,” Hargrove said.

Carter, 64, a retired small-business owner, said his own contributors know who he is.

“Every nickel I’ve gotten is from people who know me, who met me,” said Carter, who has no PAC contributions but has received $1,800 each from Christopher and Terri Williams of Silverdale, longtime friends.

Carter said he can’t believe that a “special interest group” that contributes thousands to Hargrove’s campaign “isn’t going to have an influence on the senator.”

Carter did receive $200 from the Republican Women of Clallam County but said he did not solicit or expect the contribution.

“It caused me trouble because I am an independent and because I have a very high resistance to lobbyists and special-interest groups, but they were just so nice,” he said.

Carter has spent campaign money on TV advertisements, which Hargrove has stayed away from.


Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at

Last modified: October 27. 2012 5:52PM
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