Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Out-of-Staters for Steve Litzow

If you are impressed with the off-island campaign contributions to Maureen Judge, you will be astounded at the success of Steve Litzow, current Mercer Island City Councilman who is running unopposed for reelection this year.

He's unopposed, so he'll win even if he raises no money at all. But in spite of that, he has more donations than any other candidate: over $20K so far. And look who’s donating:

I should point out that virtually all of his Washington state donations are from Mercer Island.

I guess it should make us proud that so many people across the country are interested in the race for Mercer Island city council, but here are some other facts:

  • The top five donors contribute half of his contributions (and all are from out of state)
    • The biggest contributor (from Los Angeles): Michael Hand, who lists his occupation as "insurance".
  • He has almost no donations from "special interests" (unlike Maureen, who gets almost as much from those groups as she gets from Mercer Islanders)
    • Well, not quite. The Affordable Housing Council (registered in Bellevue) gave him $100.
  • About half his donations are small: median amount is $50. Considering the size of his war chest, the money certainly isn't needed, so you could think of these as "token" gestures of people who want to go on record supporting him. For example, the following people gave him $50 each:
    • Fred Jarrett (State Representative)
    • Blair Rasmussen (basketball star and Boys & Girls Club exec director)

Maureen's donors are mostly from cities close to Mercer Island -- people who potentially have an interest in what happens here on issues like the i-90 bridge or the future of Luther Burbank park. But what about people from California or New Jersey, some of whom may have never set foot on our island? Why would they write these huge $2500 to $5000 checks to reelect somebody who has no chance of losing?

Any ideas? Let me know.

[Full disclosure: I have not contributed to any candidate]

1 comment:

Steve Litzow said...

Hi Richard – The out of state contributors to my campaign are family and long-time friends who want to support me. The vast majority of contributions came in before the filing date when there were consistent rumors that I was going to be challenged. Looking closely at the contributions: from California include my in-laws, my roommate from Procter & Gamble, Mike Hand; from Wisconsin is my parents, my uncles and family friends I have known for years; from New Jersey is my brother-in-law and Boston is my brother. I am fortunate to have friends and family that have encouraged and supported my public service these past 4 years. I am happy to answer any other questions about my campaign. Thanks, Steve Litzow