Small Ball

In the 3rd District, the Spokane Indians president goes up against a sewer inspector.

There are a number of reasons to put $3,000 on your credit card. Maybe you’re doing some light remodeling; maybe you’re putting in a hot t.Or maybe you’re trying to win an election. Dave White, the Republican candidate for the 3rd Legislative District, loaned himself $3,000 to assemble a “minimal skeleton campaign,” complementing the $1,500 or so the Public Disclosure Commission says he’s received in private donations.

“I actually took out a $10,000 line of credit.

I could spend up to that, if I wanted to,” he says. “But being as how I’m trying to be frugal and show how I can be frugal, I’m trying to keep it down to a minimum.”

White, who’s running on a platform of curbing spending and cutting taxes, says he originally budgeted to give himself $2,000, hoping to raise private contributions. But he went over that limit, he says, because he set it “not knowing the cost of signs and a few things that the PDC requires [him] to do.”

White thinks lower taxes and reining in spending will solve things. Eliminating the Business and Occupation Tax will spur job growth, and eliminating the candy, soda and bottled water tax will help voters’ bottom line.

He says the Legislature has avoided balancing the budget for too long, and the state needs a different approach. He says he developed the skills necessary to read and comprehend bills in his years as a sewer inspector for the county; he vouches for his small-business skills with his time as an owner-operator of a trucking business.

When White’s Democratic opponent, Andy Billig, is asked about his area of expertise, he can pull a Babe Ruth and point to the fences. President of the Spokane Indians, where he has worked for 18 years, Billig touts his accomplishments in creating jobs — over the years, the Indians staff has increased from two full-time positions to 17 — as well as in appealing to a broad enough swath of the Spokane population for the Indians to lead the league in attendance for several years.

“If you go to a Spokane Indians game, you’ve got an incredible cross-section of Spokane,” Billig says. “People who see it as an affordable night out, and businesspeople wanting to wine-and-dine out … I’m in touch with the whole range of our community.”

He has also raised more than $114,000 — most of it, he says, from “among the highest number of individual donors” for a state House race.* Some of the money came in, of course, to help him past the contentious primary.

Billig says the infrastructure for job creation is already in place — we just need to support job seekers. On his website, he advocates innovative financing techniques and growing those industries, most notably health care, which is already on solid footing in Spokane.

Looking at the numbers, Billig’s claim to reach the community rings true, at least when distilled down to the 3 rd . Though he lost the primary to White by 146 votes, it was largely due to the number of Democratic candidates on the ballot. Together, the three Democrats pulled in almost 70 percent of voters.

Billig doesn’t consider all those to be in his pocket — “I need to earn all the votes,” he says. But considering that he’s vying for a seat held by a Democrat for the past 14 years, 70 percent of voters being willing to cast their ballots for a Dem has to be a good sign.

* Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that Billig had more individual donors than anyone in the state.

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About The Author

Dan Herman

Dan Herman is a copy editor for The Inlander. He is responsible for ascertaining that all the names of metal bands have the correct number of umlauts. He graduated from Washington State University in 2009.