"Bellevue’s actively engaged citizenry shapes the city’s future."
This statement from the City of Bellevue's Comprehensive Plan vision is again under attack this election season. Only 531 of approximately 140,000 residents are supporting Council Candidates monetarily. Even though there are many to be engaged, this is a very low percentage.
The state regulates campaign contributions, and candidates must report all contributions. However, there is no requirement that funding must come from the people of Bellevue.
Bellevue clearly does not self-fund the City Council Candidates' campaigns. Will residents of Bellevue take hold of the campaign reins after the primary?
Are campaign fund attributes or people contributing to campaigns a predictor of the primary election?
Bellevue Residents are Less than Half of the Campaign
The largest segment of contributors to Bellevue City Council Candidates campaigns is the home team: individual Bellevue residents, workers, and businesses:
- 46% of the campaign contributions have come from individuals who live in Bellevue.
- The 531 individuals who have contributed, to multiple campaigns, about $180 on average.
- "Other" contributions are usually from small donations of individuals. Thus, "Other" has been included with individuals.
- Thirty-eight individuals who work in Bellevue have contributed 5% of the total of all contributions.
- Seventeen Bellevue businesses contributed 4% of the total.
While this is a great Bellevue breakout for home rule, the home team is only up 55% to 45% to the rest of the world.
Interest groups Contributed Approximately 1 out of every 11 Campaign Dollars
Political Action Committees, Parties, and Unions contributed 9% of the campaign contributions.
Other Washington Cities Play a Major Role
Contributions from businesses in other cities and individuals living and working in other Washington cities contribute 31% of the total. Seattle itself is 10%.
Topping the list are Holly Zhang and James Bible with 70% and 50% of their funds coming from other Washington cities. If high percentages of contributions from outside Bellevue continue into the general election, the voices of Bellevue residents are being dampened.
Out of State Contributions Expected to Decrease in Importance
6% of all contributions come from out of state. The out of state dollars are usually from friends and family. These individuals are not likely to be seeking influence in Bellevue. Barksdale, Ye, Walter, and Zahn had many out of state contributors. This contribution source is expected to dwindle during the general election campaign.
Are campaign fund attributes or people contributing campaigns a predictor of the primary election?
For Position 1, the highest funds received would predict Stokes and Zhang. However, given Zhang's contributions outside of Bellevue, fund distribution would lead to Acevedo and Stokes.
From a voter perspective, Acevado and Stokes have the most number of Bellevue residents who contributed for this position.
For PositIon 3, the third candidate has not reported any funding, so Barksdale and Walter are clearly the expected, Primary winners.
For PositIon 5, there is also a third candidate, but they too have not reported funding. Yu and Zahn are clearly the expected Primary winners.
For Position 7, highest funds received would predict Robertson with no other clear prediction for the second. However, given Bible's contributions outside of Bellevue, fund distribution would lead to Robertson and Ye.
From a voter perspective, Bible and Robertson have the most number of Bellevue residents who contributed. Note: The fourth candidate, Randy Grein, has terminated his campaign.
Who is Out?
Three candidates on the ballot are not funding campaigns:
Two candidates for each position will move on from the Primary.
Meet Candidates in Person
Here is the kist of Bellevue Neighborhood Candidate Forums. You are welcome at any or all of these events. Time and locations to be announced as dates get closer.
- Sept 19 Lake Hills Neighborhood Association
- Oct 1 Bridle Trails Community Club
- Oct 8 or 9 Woodridge Community Association
- Oct 10 Meydenbauer Bay Neighborhood Association
- Oct 17 One Bellevue- All-City
- TBD Newport Hills Community Club
All data from https://www.pdc.wa.gov Open Data 8/2/2019 4:12 PM
All dollars rounded to the whole dollar