Candidate forum screen shot

Screenshot of the forum for Walla Walla School Board candidates hosted by the Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021.

This story has been modified since its initial publication to reflect a correction.

Walla Walla School District races have been largely uncontested in recent years, but with schools becoming the center of fierce public debates over pandemic restrictions, sex education and how America’s history is taught, 2021’s School Director Position 1 and 2 races are both competitive.

The unusually competitive races have also attracted unusually high amounts of campaign contributions. More money has been raised in the contest for School Director Position 1 than in any other race in the city.

POSITION 1

KATHY MULKERIN

$22,956.62 in contributions. $7,411.27 on hand.

LARGEST CONTRIBUTIONS

  • John Enslein, owner of Redmond-based business services CJE Ventures Inc. $1,000
  • Little Hinka Studios, Redmond-based design company. In-kind contributions of $1,000
  • Shelby Healy, social media manager with Microsoft, Seattle. $500
  • Sam McVeety, software engineer with Google, Seattle. $500
  • David Habib, retired software consultant, Kirkland. $500
  • Megan Clubb, retired, cash, $500
  • Richard Simon, physician, cash, $500
  • Victoria Lidzbarski, assistant, Blue Mountain Action Council, cash, $430

ZANA CARVER

$8,727.75 in contributions. $2,226.12 on hand.

LARGEST CONTRIBUTIONS

  • Chris Nulph, owner of Tate Transportation. $947.50
  • Dan Given, owner of Mr. Ed’s Restaurant. $500
  • Walla Walla Republican Party. $500
  • Walla Walla County Republican Central Committee. $500
  • Kris Carver, candidate’s husband, cash, $495
  • Zane Carver, candidate’s son, cash, $355
  • Cathy Rasley, co-owner of Hot Mama’s Espresso, cash, $250
  • Jenny Mayberry, co-owner of Hot Mama’s Espresso, cash, $250

Kathy Mulkerin’s campaign singlehandedly makes the race for Walla Walla School Director Position 1 the most expensive election in the city, with more funds than the other three candidates for School Director combined.

Prior candidates for the district in recent years have not raised nearly enough money to meet the state Public Disclosure Commission’s $5,000 reporting threshold. But with unusually competitive races in both seats on the November ballot, Mulkerin has more than $7,000 still on hand from the nearly $23,000 she has raised since she announced her bid for the school district.

Mulkerin has raised $2,500 from King County residents in the software and business services industries, and another in in-kind contributions valued at $1,000 from design company Little Hinka Studios. She also raised $350 dollars from various branches of the National Women’s Political Caucus, a non-partisan pro-Choice political organization, $150 from College Place Mayor Norma Hernandez and $125 from state Senator Mona Das, D-Kent.

Her largest expenditures were over $5,400 for printing and mailing, $2,600 for advertisements, and $1,350 for design.

Zana Carver’s campaign for Position 1 has raised the second largest pot of any school director candidate, despite being dwarfed by her opponent’s funding.

Carver’s largest donations have come from local business owners, including $500 from Dan Given, owner of Mr. Ed’s Restaurant, and a little under $950 from Chris Nulph, owner of Tate Transportation. Cathy Rasley and County Commissioner Jenny Mayberry, co-owners of Hot Mama’s Espresso, each donated $250.

Various local Republican political committees donated an additional $1,000 to Carver’s campaign, while City Council Member Myron Huie and County Commissioner Greg Tompkins each donated $100. James Stovall, who is running for School Director Position 2, also donated $100. Carver’s husband, Kris, and their son, Zane, also donated $605.

Carver’s largest expenses included over $5,300 in printing and mailing costs and nearly $1,100 in advertisement.

POSITION 2

JAMES STOVALL

$7,780 in contributions. $2,278.53 on hand.

LARGEST CONTRIBUTIONS

  • Walla Walla Professional Firefighters Association. $1,000
  • Richland Firefighters Local 1052. $500
  • Hot Mama’s Espresso. $500
  • Walla Walla County Republican Central Committee. $500.
  • Kennewick Union Firefighters Local 1296. $500
  • Kristi Youd, real estate agent Coldwell Banker. $300
  • Robert Greene, communications manager Columbia REA. $250
  • Roger Corn, owner of R&S Leasing. $250

TERRI TRICK

$6,007.08 in contributions. $3,225.45 on hand.

LARGEST CONTRIBUTIONS

  • Lynn Knapp, poet and retired Walla Walla Community College English teacher. $800
  • Richard Simon, Physician with St. Mary’s Hospital. $500
  • Darcie Furlan, retired. $300
  • Robert Johnson, retired psychiatrist. $250
  • David Fogarty, retired, amateur radio operator. $250
  • Mary Campbell, executive of the Walla Walla Community Council. $200
  • Lynn Martin, retired. $200
  • Noah Leavitt, Director of the Student Engagement Center at Whitman College. $100

While the race for School Director Position 2 has not attracted the kind of contributions that Position 1 has, the James Stovall and Terry Trick campaigns are still better funded than local school districts typically see.

Stovall’s largest outside contribution comes from the Walla Walla firefighter’s union, a $1,000 check only rivaled by a contribution of the same amount that Stovall made to his own campaign. Firefighter unions from Richland and Kennewick each contributed an additional $500 to the firefighter’s campaign for school director.

The Walla Walla County Republican Central Committee and Hot Mama’s Espresso, co-owned by County Commissioner Jenny Mayberry, collectively pitched in another $1,000, while County Commissioner Greg Tompkins donated $100.

Stovall’s largest expenses have included nearly $3,900 for campaign signs and over $900 for printing and mailing costs.

Incumbent Trick’s largest campaign contributors include retire English teacher Lynn Knapp, who donated $800, physician Richard Simon, who donated $500, and Walla Walla Community Council Executive Mary Campbell, with $200. Trick has also received $50 each from College Place Mayor Norma Hernandez and city council candidate Nadine Stecklein.

Trick’s campaign for school director is not only the slimmest in the city, it has also been the thriftiest, spending the smallest proportion of its funds thus far in the race. The campaign’s largest expenses include less than $950 for printing and mailing and less than $850 for political signs.

Emry Dinman can be reached at emrydinman@wwub.com or 425-941-5829.

Reporter covering agriculture, Walla Walla city and county government, and other topics.

(1) comment

kreniche

I am very impressed with Mulkerin's fund raising! Particularly that the largest contribution was only $1,000. Given that other candidates also post that same (or very near) level for largest contribution this fact shows us that she, indeed, has far more smaller individual contributors that didn't make the list. And did you know that the one group that has the greatest barrier to fundraising is black women? Kathy Mulkerin has shown that even faced with that unfair burden she trounced her competitor in her ability to connect with people. We need that folks, we really need that - especially now! That is the broad base of support we need in a local elected officials.

Plus, I think we should note that if we start asking why money from Seattle came in to this race we might realize that Kathy Mulkerin has some good friends wherever she goes. That speaks well of her too! I suppose we could ask why certain local individuals have so much invested in certain other candidates but I suppose they really like them too. That's all good. But we must ask why all this money coming from the Republican party to her opponent... isn't this a non-partisan position? Hey, the important thing is not who raised how much from whom but how they will serve on the board, right?

Mulkerin is warm and open. She works with everyone and accepted all the invitations. She is the candidate that represents our Walla Walla values best, no question. And I bet she will buy more ads in the local paper with that money too. How cool is that UB? Thanks for the reporting and the comments section - it really gives a voice to the community. [smile]

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