John Boyd and Kelly Wiggans-Crawford have the most expensive Kent City Council campaign this year, although it pales in comparison to the 2019 council elections. COURTESY PHOTOS

John Boyd and Kelly Wiggans-Crawford have the most expensive Kent City Council campaign this year, although it pales in comparison to the 2019 council elections. COURTESY PHOTOS

Kent City Council campaign spending drops dramatically from 2019

Despite higher-paying position in 2023, contributions and expenditures much lower

There’s a lot less campaign money flowing in Kent City Council races this year compared to the high numbers of the 2019 election.

And that’s despite an 110% raise in pay this year (from 2022) for the part-time positions to $3,000 a month ($36,000 per year) compared to about $1,296 per month ($15,557 per year) in 2019. The City of Kent’s Independent Salary Commission approved the pay hike at a March meeting.

The race between John Boyd and Kelly Wiggans-Crawford has generated the most money. Boyd has raised $10,029 and spent $10,809, according to the state Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) website on Oct. 25. Wiggans-Crawford has raised $7,560 and spent $1,469.

The winner on the Nov. 7 general election ballot between Boyd and Wiggans-Crawford will replace Les Thomas, who decided not seek reelection after 20 years on the council.

In 2019, Hira Bhullar challenged Thomas. Bhullar raised $74,448 and spent $74,276, according to the PDC. Thomas won reelection despite not raising or spending more than $5,000.

Boyd loaned himself $5,078 for his campaign, according to the PDC. His largest contribution is from his wife, Cheryl Boyd, at $1,200. His next largest contributions include $500 from the Seattle-based Washington State Democrats, $500 from the Kent-based 47th District Democrats and $500 from the Seattle-based Washington Machinists Council.

The donations from the Washington State Democrats and 47th District Democrats were for the August primary, when Boyd and Wiggans-Crawford advanced to the general election with the most votes among five candidates.

Boyd’s largest expenditures include $1,236 to Lynnwood-based Frederick Films for video production; $1,034 to TR Graphics of Everett for 5,000 handouts; $1,000 to Bellevue’s Finley & Associates for management and consulting services; and $1,000 to C Good Strategy, a Seattle political consulting firm.

The largest contributions to Wiggans-Crawford, according to the PDC, include $1,200 from Seattle attorney Sean Flynn (her employer as a paralegal); $1,200 from Seattle-based Rental Housing Association of Washington; $1,200 from the Olympia-based Washington Association of Realtors Political Affairs Counci; and $1,200 from the Kent Police Officers Association (union).

The largest expenditures by Wiggans-Crawford include $477 to the Renton Printery for handouts for doorbelling and $364 for filing fees.

Incumbent Zandria Michaud has raised $6,056 and spent $2,411 in her race against Darryl Jones, who has not filed contribution and expenditure reports since he plans to raise and spend no more than $7,000.

Michaud’s largest contributions this year include $1,200 from the Bellevue-based Affordable Housing Council; $1,200 from the Kent Police Officers Association (union); and $1,200 from Nana’s Southern Kitchen. Michaud’s largest expenditure is $1,200 to Nana’s Southern Kitchen for catering and event rental for a fundraiser.

That’s a huge difference from 2019 when Michaud defeated Awale Farah for an open seat. Farah raised $57,505 and spent $62,540, according to the PDC. Michaud raised $8,702 and spent $9,097.

Incumbent Marli Larimer has raised $1,400 and spent zero dollars so far, according to the PDC, in her race against Jessie Ramsey, who has not filed contribution and expenditure reports since he plans to raise and spend no more than $7,000. Her largest contribution is $1,200 from the Affordable Housing Council.

In 2019, Larimer defeated Todd Minor, who owns Nana’s Southern Kitchen, when she raised $13,678 and spent $16,620. Minor raised $15,130 and spent $15,031.

Bill Boyce , who is running unopposed this year for reelection to the council, faced a high-spending opponent in 2019. Mizan Rahman raised $47,389 and spent $51,659 in his loss to Boyce. Boyce raised $22,490 and spent $21,946.

In summary, the candidates with the four largest contributions in 2019 each lost.

Kent School Board

While City Council races were way down this year in campaign fundraising and spending compared to the high season of 2019, two Kent School Board races this year had higher contributions and spending than in 2019.

Incumbent Leslie Hamada has contributions of $16,918 and expenditures of $14,905 in her race against Donald Cook, according to the PDC. Cook has raised $3,180 and spent $3,166.

Hamada and three other school board candidates in 2019 didn’t file contribution and expenditure reports because nobody raised and spent enough money.

Just about all of Hamada’s funds are her own money, according to the PDC. Her one large contribution was $1,000 from Dr. Bobby Virk, a Bellevue orthodontist. She also received $500 from the Kent-based 47th Legislative District Democrats.

Hamada’s largest expenditures include $3,840 to Sermo Digital, of Cle Elum, for postage costs, mail permits and purchase of stamps; another $2,619 to Sermo Digital for 3,876 mailers; $1,896 to Tumwater’s Capital City Press for 250 yard signs; another $1,124 to Sermo Digital for graphic art work for mailers; and about $3,400 to Huynh Mai Thanh-Tam, of Kent, for management and consulting services.

Cook’s largest contributions include $1,200 from Federal Way-based Washington Education Association Political Action Committee and $500 from Rose McAvoy, a self-employed photographer in Kent.

In the one other school board race, Andy Carter has raised $2,345 and spent $100. He is challenging incumbent Meghin Margel, who has not filed a contribution and expenditure report due to staying below the contribution and spending threshold.

Carter’s largest contributions include $1,000 from Kitsap County Sheriff John Gese and $500 from the Washington Education Association Political Action Committee in Federal Way. He also received an $100 contribution from Donald Cook.

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