As promised, I've run the numbers on the other city council candidates' campaign contributions. Here's a summary of their total named contributions, as reported to the Public Disclosure Commission:
- Cheryl Haskins: $51,882.60
- Greg Taylor: $20,901.64
- King Parker: $10,340.00
- Marcie Palmer: $9,245.00
- Don Persson: $2,400.00 (he's running unopposed)
- Terry Persson: $2,080.00
- Shirley Gaunt-Smith: $805.00
Greg Taylor has certainly raised a lot of money, which isn't surprising, since he's very well respected and well connected within the community. Along with most other candidates, he has received PAC and union money, but nothing outrageous. His single greatest contribution was $1,500 from the WA State Association of Realtors, but over 56% of all his named contributions have come from Renton residents and businesses. As with other candidates (except Cheryl Haskins), that percentage would be higher if Boeing's $500 contribution to him was considered to be from Renton, or if groups such as the WA Education Association or the Affordable Housing Council are counted as Renton community stakeholders.
What you don't see in Greg Taylor's reports are huge donations from non-Renton residents. In fact, his largest contribution from a household outside the city was from Bradley and Cynthia Marshall of Seattle, for a combined total of $1,000. Compare that with the large contributions Cheryl Haskins has received of $1,000 or more:
As for the sources of the other candidates' contributions, there's really nothing unusual to report. Their contributions seem to be appropriate for a city council race in a city of this size. I encourage you to check the reports for yourself on the PDC website. Be sure to enter 2007 for the year when searching, as many candidates have run for office in previous years.
After this election is over, I think I'd like to see our city government enact campaign finance regulations for city races. Currently, all statewide races, along with county-wide races in our four largest counties, are subject to strict limits on individual contributions. I believe it's $750 per person, or $1,500 per household. For some reason, those limits don't apply to municipal elections. They seem quite reasonable to me, and would help prevent someone with wealthy friends from essentially buying a seat on the city council.