Commissioner candidates top $100,000 in total contributions

By Marcy Stamper

The four candidates for Okanogan County commissioner have been bringing in considerably more money as they near Election Day, raising a combined total of $107,864 as of Tuesday (Oct. 11).

The biggest spike in contributions by far was in the campaign of incumbent District 1 commissioner Sheilah Kennedy, who, in a single night, raised three times more than she had previously brought in.

Kennedy reported raising more than $12,000 at a fundraiser on Sept. 19. Before that, she had reported a total of $4,000 in cash contributions from supporters, plus a personal contribution of $5,000 she made to her own campaign.

Since that fundraiser, Kennedy has continued to pull in significantly more money than her challenger, Chris Branch. Contributions Kennedy reported to the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) since the September fundraiser added another $10,000 as of this week, putting Kennedy ahead of all commissioner candidates in fundraising, with $31,625.

Kennedy’s contributions include $8,000 from the state Republican Party and $2,500 from the Okanogan County Republican Party. Kennedy is the only candidate for Okanogan County commissioner receiving financial support from a political party. Branch has not stated a party preference.

In the race to replace Ray Campbell as District 1 commissioner, Andy Hover is facing Ashley Thrasher. While Hover states a preference for the Republican Party, he has not received any financial support from the party. Thrasher states no party preference.

Hover reported the second-highest total contributions of all four commissioner candidates at $27,780, but he saw the smallest increase over the past three weeks, adding just 3 percent since Sept. 22.

Thrasher’s fundraising got the second-highest boost since then, with a 70-percent increase in contributions, bringing her total close to Hover’s, with $26,334.

Branch took in another $4,000 in the past three weeks, putting his total contributions at $22,125, a 22-percent increase.

More than $9,500 of the contributions at Kennedy’s fundraiser were from an auction of desserts, gift certificates, automotive supplies and two rifles. Fellow county commissioners Jim DeTro and Campbell both contributed to Kennedy’s campaign through the auction.

Hover and Thrasher have spent about 42 percent of the money they have raised. Branch has spent the most at 56 percent. Kennedy has spent the least by far — just 12 percent of her total contributions. Most expenditures are for advertising, political signs and brochures.

Candidates are required to file contribution and expenditure reports with the PDC every Monday if they have deposited any new contributions. They must make deposits within five days of receiving the money, according to a PDC spokesperson.

Detailed contribution and expenditure reports are available on the PDC website at