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Let’s watch where the money goes | IN OUR OPINION
Hold on to your ballots, undecided Bainbridge voters: You’re in for an interesting ride.
Political campaigning on Bainbridge Island is being transformed this election season into something quite unfamiliar to many longtime voters on the island.
An infusion of money into the campaigns for the Bainbridge Island City Council, at record-breaking levels, is being overshadowed by the new formation of a political action committee, or PAC, run by Gary Tripp, a longtime critic of local government.
Many fear the PAC, called Common Sense Bainbridge, will inject a partisan bent and even greater polarization into council campaigns. They point to the involvement of Glenn Avery — a Seattle resident who is currently serving his third term as chairman of the 36th Legislative District Republicans — in the PAC, as well as Tripp’s past history of beyond-the-pale commentary.
Common Sense Bainbridge has raised $23,350 — an amount more than any candidate in the race — to spend on this year’s Bainbridge races, and has so far spent just $6,000.
But there’s big money, as well, that’s still unspent in the council races.
Candidates in the three contested races have raised more than $73,000, and have reportedly nearly $33,000 left to spend on their campaigns before Election Day.
Campaigns cost money to run effectively, no doubt, and donations help a candidate reach out to voters with yard signs, newspaper advertising, fliers and direct mail pieces. Donations can also be used for other unsavory activities, such as “hit piece” mailings and push polls.
As Nov. 5 approaches, however, opportunities for using that campaign cash start to quickly dwindle and Bainbridge voters will find out if the candidates, and the outside interests who support some of them, will use their funding to build up their candidates rather than tear down their opponents.