Activist outpaces most council candidates in raising money for November election

Email activist Gary Tripp has now raised more money for the November election than most of the candidates who are actually running for a city council seat.

Three council seats are up for grabs in the November election, and Tripp has formed a political action committee called Common Sense Bainbridge to support his slate of candidates.

Tripp's preferred candidates are Richard "Dick" Haugan, Cheryl McComb and Arlene Buetow.

According to records on file with the Public Disclosure Commission, the state agency that serves as a watchdog on campaign financing, Tripp has raised $21,050 so far.

In his most recent report on donations, submitted on Oct. 7, Tripp reported 21 new donations — all received on Sept. 30 — that total $13,550. He had previously raised $7,500.

Most of the new donations were $100 or larger. The largest donation, of $10,000, came from Boyer Towing, Inc. of Ketchikan, Alaska.

"We're doing well," Tripp said when asked about donations.

A review of campaign finance records shows Common Sense Bainbridge has pulled in more donations than five of the six candidates for the city council.

According to the Public Disclosure Commission, only one candidate, Haugan, has surpassed Tripp's total.

Haugan — who is running for the North Ward, Position 7 against Tollefson — has raised $22,955 so far.

Tollefson has raised $13,365 so far for his campaign.

Wayne Roth, who is running for the Position 5, Central Ward seat against Buetow, has raised $9,839. Buetow has pulled in $4,493.

Roger Townsend has raised $8,928 in his quest for the Position 3, South Ward seat. McComb, his opponent, has pulled in $733.

Tripp issued a new appeal for more donations last week, using the Bainbridge Defense Fund, his property rights group, to send out a mass emailing for Common Sense Bainbridge, which has not yet reported any expenditures to the Public Disclosure Commission.

"We know that we can achieve prioritization of our budget and get rid of character attacks on the council if we elect a team dedicated to moving our Island into the future," Tripp wrote in the Oct. 3 email. "We're working with consultants who win races all over our state. If you would like to join us in electing a team that will fix our roads, our sewers, and push our council to 'get back to basics,' please write a check."

Tripp's new political action committee has proven to be controversial on Bainbridge, and has prompted several letters to the editor that are critical of the endeavor.

A nonscientific online poll on the Bainbridge Review website last week asked if Common Sense Bainbridge would hurt Tripp's slate of candidates. A large majority, more than 65 percent or respondents, said that it would.


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