Shelly O’Quinn has raised nearly $50,000 for her campaign. She has the endorsement of all current county commissioners and the support of sheriff Ozzie Knezovich. She’s running as a Republican, in a conservative area.
Yet, with a preliminary percentage 35 percent of the vote, she took second to Daryl Romeyn, the former weatherman, who, at this point, doesn’t even use a cell phone. According to the Public Disclosure Commission, Romeyn’s raised less than $2,500 for every dollar he raised, in other words, O’Quinn raised 20 and hasn’t yet spent a dime of it.
He got 42 percent of the vote.
He could at least partially thank Spokane County Treasurer Rob Chase, O’Quinn’s opponent who came in third. Each of the three candidates have run and lost for positions before. They all had the name recognition, crucial in a primary.
In 2002, Chase ran against George Nethercutt as a Libertarian. Here, he ran as a Republican, possibly dividing the vote-for-any-Republican contingent of primary voters.
But even Chase says he was surprised by how well Romeyn did.
“I thought that Daryl would draw at least a third from the Democrats,” Chase says. “[But] I thought I was going to pull the independents.” Chase suspects that some independent voters might want to break up the purely Republican bloc on the board of commissioners.
O’Quinn, however, says Romeyn’s success isn’t shocking.
“I think it turned out how I expected it would,” O’Quinn says. “I had already done my homework and knew that Daryl would get at least 39 percent. “
Before the race, she studied previous voting trends in the district, and discovered that, no matter who runs, about 39 percent vote Democrat.
Yet, she says she’s not going to take anything for granted in the general election. Where before only those in District 3 the south-east third of the county could vote for O’Quinn in the primary, the entire county votes in the general.
Romeyn is quite aware of that.
“I couldn’t sleep last night,” Romeyn says. He says he’s “obviously happy” with his result. He credits his success to old fashioned door-to-door campaigning work.
“I went to every event,” he says. “I spoke to every group, etc. that invited me. I’m not sure the other candidates can say that.”
In debates, he and O’Quinn have already clashed on a number of issues. He wants to use the funding given to Greater Spokane Incorporated elsewhere, O’Quinn thinks cutting that economic-development funding would be foolish in a recession.
Either way, despite Romeyn’s primary win, financially, he’s still the 20-to-1 underdog.
“All I had was the little yard signs,” Romeyn, “I just don’t have the funds to have the big billboards and all those sorts of things.”
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