The challengers are easily outspending the incumbents in the Nov. 5 Kent City Council races, with the most lopsided difference between Hira Singh Bhullar and Les Thomas.
Bhullar, who is trying to defeat the longtime incumbent Thomas, leads all candidates with contributions of $56,484, according to the state Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) reports filed as of Oct. 14. Thomas plans to raise and spend less than $5,000 and not receive any single contributions above $500, so he was not required by the PDC to file a report.
Bhullar, a senior software developer at Starbucks in Seattle, raised $55,459 in 2015 when he lost a council race to Tina Budell, who raised $17,722.
Eight people or businesses contributed between $1,250 and $2,000 each to Bhullar. Individual contributions to a campaign are limited to $1,000 per election, but since Bhullar also ran in the primary, contributions can be as high as $2,000, according to the PDC. He has another 15 contributions of $1,000 each.
Bhullar’s largest expenditures are each to Kent-based Indelible Media, $5,751 for campaign mailers; $5,160 for a second campaign mailer; and $5,000 for a digital ad campaign. Indelible Media is run by President Mauricio Ayon, whose LinkedIn profile describes him as having 20-plus year of community organizing, political and electoral campaigns, candidate development and grassroots canvassing.
Thomas, in his 16th year on council, raised less than $5,000 in 2015 when he defeated write-in candidate Gwen Allen. He raised $15,019 in 2011 when he defeated Nancy Skorupa.
Awale Farah against Zandria Michaud is another lopsided race when it comes to fundraising. The two are competing to replace Dennis Higgins, who decided not to run again. Farah has raised $43,060 so far compared to Michaud at $6,572.
Farah has 12 contributions between $1,000 and $2,000. The largest expenditure for Farah includes $4,751 to Indelible Media for campaign mailers and $3,112 to Indelible Media for digital ads.
Michaud has two contributions of $600 for her largest donations. Her largest expenditure so far is $2,024 to Edmonds-based Strong Impressions for campaign mailers.
Mizan Rahman has raised $40,889 in his race to beat incumbent Bill Boyce, who has raised $19,025. Rahman has 13 contributions of $1,000 each. His largest expenditure includes $3,036 to Indelible Media for campaign flyers.
Boyce has 10 donations of $1,000 each. He has not yet reported expenditures.
Todd Minor has contributions of $14,855 in his race against incumbent Marli Larimer, who has raised $11,683. Minor has seven donations of $1,000 each. His largest expenditure is $2,850 to Strong Impressions for campaign mailers.
Larimer has three large contributions, one for $1,500 and two for $1,000. Her biggest expenditures are $800 to Bailey Stober for consulting fees and website setup and another $750 to Stober for consulting fees and voter data access. Stober is a three-time candidate for the Kent City Council and former King County Democratic Party chairman.
Positions on the council are considered part-time jobs and pay $15,564 a year. The council president receives $16,404.
Kent City Council
Campaign Funds Raised
• Bhullar $56,484
• Farah $43,060
• Rahman $40,889
• Boyce $19,025
• Minor $14,855
• Larimer $11,683
• Michaud $6,572
• *Thomas $0
*Plans to raise and spend less than $5,000 (no contribution report required by state PDC)
Source: State Public Disclosure Commission (PDC)