U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer will defend his 6th District seat this general election season with a significant money advantage over real estate broker Marty McClendon, his Republican opponent.
Kilmer, a Gig Harbor Democrat and Port Angeles native, has $1.5 million in contributions and $1 million left to spend, according to the most recent Federal Election Commission filings (see http://tinyurl.com/PDN-Money).
McClendon, also of Gig Harbor, has $9,725 in contributions and $4,726 left to spend.
Kilmer’s total consists of 1,424 contributions from individuals, 428 contributions from political action committees and unions — and no personal contributions or loans in his effort to win a second two-year term.
McClendon’s total consists of seven individual contributions from three Gig Harbor, Port Orchard and Dublin, Calif., residents.
The co-pastor has no contributions from the North Olympic Peninsula or from political action committee or unions.
He personally contributed $1,740 to his campaign.
Kilmer, 40, and McClendon, 47, will advance to the Nov. 4 general election after voters gave them the most votes in Tuesday’s primary election.
Kilmer finished as the top vote-getter by a wide margin.
As of late Thursday afternoon, he had garnered 79,594 votes, or 59 percent, in a field of four contenders.
He was the top vote-getter in Clallam and Jefferson counties in a district that also includes Grays Harbor, Mason, Kitsap and Thurston counties, and part of Tacoma in Pierce County.
McClendon, 47, was second with 46,311 votes, 34 percent, as of late Thursday afternoon.
Green Party candidate Douglas MilHolland of Port Townsend was third with 4,736 votes, 3.5 percent, to W. (Greybeard) McPherson of Port Angeles’ total, 4,699 votes, 3.4 percent.
McClendon and Kilmer are not political strangers.
Kilmer defeated McClendon in 2010 by 59 percent to 41 percent when McClendon challenged Kilmer for his 26th District state Senate seat.
McClendon, who has never held elective public office, said earlier this week that he knew of the wide disparity in campaign funds between him and Kilmer and acknowledged he has more work to do before Election Day.
General election ballots will be mailed to voters in 67 days, on Oct. 15.
“We need to get more money,” McClendon said. “I will be doing what I’ve been doing, only more so.
“Hopefully, I will appeal to a broader audience.
Kilmer discounted his money advantage over McClendon.
“The biggest advantage I have is that I have spent the last two years going to every nook and cranny of the district,” Kilmer said.
“We have been accessible to the people I represent, done multiple town hall meetings, and been to every chamber and rotary club that will have me.
“We’ve visited nearly 100 companies and been sitting with local employers and employees, trying to get a sense of the issues they face.”
Kilmer’s FEC filing shows $7 in Democratic Party committee contributions.
McClendon said he did not believe he has reached the right percentage of contribution to his opponent’s or the right percentage of primary votes to qualify for national Republican Party funding.
“I don’t think I have reached either one of those thresholds,” he said.
State Republican Party spokesman Steve Beren would not say Thursday if the organization will give their fellow-Republican McClendon financial help.
“We don’t discuss that strategy with the media,” he said.
Beren said the National Republican Congressional Committee is not likely to give money to all 435 Republican candidates running for election to the House of Representatives.
“[The 6th District] is a solid Democratic district, and the primary results are certainly indicative of a solid Democratic district,” he said.
“Donors give to swing races and key districts.
“The [National Republican Congressional Committee} and the [Republican National Committee] will help and target key districts and close races, generally speaking.”
Spokesmen for the two organizations did and not respond to emailed requests for comment.
________Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at [email protected]