Serving Franklin County, WA

Senator tops attorneys in campaign contributions in judicial race

Five candidates compete for Benton-Franklin County Superior Court bench

PASCO — There’s a lot of money coming and going in the accounts of the judicial candidates vying for the Benton-Franklin County Superior Court Position No. 1 seat.

According to the state Public Disclosure Commission, more than $70,000 has changed hands in the race that pits Sen. Sharon Brown against several area attorneys, including Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney Shawn P. Sant.

Brown entered the race with $15,400 in holdover funds from her Senate campaigns and has raked in another $16,150.00 in contributions on top of a $1,909.85 loan.

With more than $33,000 in campaign funds reported during the election cycle, she leads the pack, reports show. But attorney Bronson Joe Brown also has amassed a large campaign war chest, racking up $28,899.85, including a $15,000 loan and $13,899.85 in contributions.

In third in overall campaign funds, Dave L. Petersen has collected $13,229.62, including $11,319.77 in contributions, reports show.

Shelly Ann Ajax, isn’t far behind Petersen with campaign funds totalling $11,081.69; that includes $9,171.84.

Reports show that at $10,897.10, Sant has brought in more cash contributions that Ajax, but only adds $151.50 in in-kind donations to reach a total of $11,048.60.

The final candidate, Talesha “Tali” Sams, is a mini-filer and doesn’t have to report contributions or expenditures.

Under state law, candidates who register to mini-file agree not accept contributions in excess of $5,000 during the course of the election and are not required to report campaign contributions or expenses.

Looking at contributors, Smart Law of Yakima and Anderson Law of Kennewick have donated to multiple candidates vying for the bench.

Primary election ballots have to be returned by Aug. 4 to be counted; on the Top 2 candidates advance to the November general election.

According to Public Disclosure Commission reports, here are the top contributors and expenses for the Benton-Franklin Superior Court Position No. 1 judicial race:

Shelley Ann Ajax

Ajax has seven campaign contributors topping $500, including her own in-kind services valued at $2,845.84; Allen Brecke of Richland, $1,000; Craig Matheson, $1,000; Desert Wave of Richland, $1,000; Janell Waters of Pasco, $500; Lanaya Gosney of Richland, $500; and Anderson Law of Kennewick at $500.

She has the same number of contributors ranging from $100-$450, including National Women’s Political Caucus of Washington Campaign of Seattle, $450; Janice Bocek of Kennewick, $250; Deborah Ruegsegger of Kennewick, $250; James Egan of Kennewick, $200; Andre Ranieri of Redmond, $200; Columbia Private Investigation of Kennewick, $100 and Joe Cruz of Pasco, $100.

She has another half-dozen contributors below $100.

On the expense side, Ajax shows only her filing fee, signs, magnets and shirts. She paid Rush Order Tees $387.12, Signs on the Cheap $122.57 for magnets and $756.06 for signs. She also reported $936.99 to herself for in-kind services for yard signs.

Bronson Joe Brown

Brown has four contributors who anted up $1,500 or more, including Bell, Brown and Rio PLLC of Kennewick, $2,000; Wendy Brown of Kennewick, $1,958.85; Smart Law Offices of Yakima, $1,500; and Michael Brown of Seattle, $1,500.

Contributors to the campaign spending more than $100 also include Richard Brown of Arlee, Mont., $700; Brandon Ritchee of Kennewick, $500; David Jensen of Kennewick, $500; Nathan Burt of Kennewick, $500; Anderson Law of Kennewick, $500; John Jensen of Richland, $500; Linda Jensen of Kennewick, $500; Ben Floyd of Kennewick, $350; Don Gale of Kennewick, $300; Richard Wright of Kennewick, $250; Tom Blodgett of Kennewick, $250; Michael Cain of Kennewick, $200; Dave Bond of Kennewick, $200; and Linda McCullough of Kennewick, $171.59.

Contributing $100 are Kurtis Hill of Kennewick, Jack Anderson of Kennewick, Karl Bleazard of Pasco, Oscar Boyce of Kennewick, Michael Flynn of Lakewood, Nancy Aldrich of West Richland, Dartagnan Jackson of Pasco, Monte Ladow of Kennewick, Larry Loveridge of Kennewic, John Lynch of Kennewick, Scott Lynch of Kennewick and Jay Mueller of Kennewick.

He has about a half-dozen contributors who donated less than $100.

On the expense side of the campaign, Brown doled out $14,530.33 to Presscats Inc. for yard signs. To get the signs posted, he also spent $644.28 and $140.21 at The Home Depot for sign materials and paid a Pasco-area farmer $500 for posts.

Brown’s also reports spending thousands for radio advertising. He’s spent $2,340.00 with Stephens Media Group, $1,800.00 with Cherry Creek Media, and $1,212 with Townsquare Media.

In other expenses, he made payments of $686.35, $222.46 and $143.35 to Mustang Signs for car decals.

Sharon Raye Brown

Most of Brown’s campaign war chest is left over Senate campaign funds in the amount of $15,400. But she does have a few donors, including Steven Ashby of Richland, $500; John Van Beek of Kennewick, $500; Victoria Van Beek of Kennewick, $100; and Jake Mayson, $50.

Brown has spent $12,830.75 on her bid for the bench.

Most of that money has been spent paying DEI Consulting, records show. She paid the company a $4,000 retainer on June 15 and then $5,202.15 for print and postage services Her expense report shows she also paid DEI Consulting’s Laudan Espinza $1,512.00 for radio advertising and $200 to purchase a mailing list.

Brown’s only other large expense was $1,909.85, the filing fee to run for office.

Dave L. Petersen

The largest contribution on Petersen’s report is $1,958.64 in in-kind services from David Petersen.

But he has several donations at or above the $500 mark. Those contributions include $750 from Nancy Parks of Kennewick and $500 donations from Mark McVeigh of West Richland, William Maggs of Vancouver, Anderson Law of Kennewick, Diane McVeigh of West Richland, Karina Bethje of Kennewick, Celine Petersen of Kennewick, Richard Petersen of Kennewick and Patricia Chvatal of Richland.

Other contributors donating more than $100 include Robert Thompson of Pasco, $300; Clearwater Law Group of Kennewick, $250; Tracie Zaring of Richland, $250; Paul Zaring of Ricland, $250; Stefani Wilcott of Kennewick, $250; Chad Wilcott of Kennewick, $250; Michele Maxson of Richland, $250; Mark Mulholland of Kennewick, $150; Tammy Mullholland of Kennewick, $150; Paul Zaring of Richland, $135.67 (in-kind); Tracie Zaring of Richland, $135.66 (in-kind); Carolyn Paxton of Richland, $125; Dean Paxton of Richland, $100; Paul Malisani of Kennewick, $125; Shannon Malisani of Kennewick, $125; Debra Kietzman of Richland, $100; David Kietzman of Richland, $100; John Hagensen of Vancouver, $100; Scott George of Kennewick, $100; Dave L. Petersen, $100; James Raebel of Kennewick, $100; Louetta Shiplet of Benton City, $100; Ronnie Shiplet of Benton City, $100; Stacey Baker of Olympia, $100; Reggie Mitchell of Kennewick, $100; Tina Mitchell of Kennewick, $100; Carla Mulholland of Kennewick, $100; and Kolleen Ledgerwood of Kennewick, $100.

Petersen has about a dozen other small-amount contributors.

As far as expenses, Petersen has used $8,889.37 funding his campaign, so far.

His largest expenses are payments of $4,394.34 and $1,257.87 to Signs, of Lake City, Utah. He also repaid himself the $1,909.85 loan for his filing fee.

In other expenses, he paid Paul Zaring $135.67 and Tracie Zaring $135.66 for customized cloth face masks.For $226.97 he purchased window clings from Sticker Mule of Amsterdam, N.Y., and he paid of Tel Aviv, Israel, $169.41 to host a campaign website for him.

Shawn P. Sant

Despite being the Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney, none of Sant’s large campaign contributors are from Franklin County. Those large donors of $500 or more or include Smart Law Offices of Yakima, $1,500; Dr. Rusty L. Morris of Kennewick, $1,000; Charlene Helle of Sacramento, Calif., $1,000; Shelly Hester of Kennewick, $1,000; Anderson Law of Kennewick, $500; Patrick McBurney of Richland, $500; and Lynn Sant of Richland, $500.

Others contributing between $100 and $300 include Kenneth H. Spencer of Richland, $300; Stephanie Monson of Kennewick, $250; Eldon Monson of Kennewick, $250; Sherry Longbine of McKinney, Calif., $250; Cindy Woodward of Pasco, $250; Carbon Clean of Powell, Ohio, $200; George Dress of Kennewick, $200; Daniel Patton of Ostrander, Ohio, $200; Steve Bromley of Richland, $200; Dustin Dobson of West Richland, $199; Kenneth H. Spencer Jr. of Richland, $151.50; Jesse Shewell of Pasco, $150; David Corkrum of Pasco, $150; Steve Goetz of Pasco, $101; Robert Sosa of Kennewick, $100; Leland Banner of LaJalla, Calif., $100; Deanna Elison of Pasco, $100; Martin Gilley of Richland, $100; Patricia Hailey of Mesa, $100; Leanna Jimerson of Pasco, $100; Marianne Le of Pasco, $100; Taylor Morfin of Pasco, $100; David Quesnel of Goldendale, $100; James Raebel of Kennewick, $100; Diego Rolon of Richland, $100; Nathan Russell of Bremerton, $100; Ken Spencer of Richland, $100; Kenneth H. Spencer Jr. of Richland, $100; and Barbara Thomasson of Pasco, $100.

More than two dozen others have contributed less than $100 to Sant’s campaign.

Sant’s largest expenses are $2,540.08 paid to of Austin, Texas, $2,540.08, for campaign signs; the state Public Disclosure Commission of Olympia, $1,909.85; and $1,276.86 to an unnamed individual or business for yard signs.

In smaller expenses, Sant paid of Austin, Texas, $376.61; and he paid Minuteman Press of Kennewick $307.01, For $151.50 worth of in-kind services, Sant also received six vinyl signs from Kenneth H. Spencer.

Author Bio

Roger Harnack, Publisher

Author photo

Roger Harnack is the co-owner/publisher of Free Press Publishing. Having grown up Benton City, Roger is an award-winning journalist, photographer, editor and publisher. He's one of only two editorial/commentary writers from Washington state to ever receive the international Golden Quill. Roger is dedicated to the preservation of local media, and the voice it retains for Eastern Washington.


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