With less than three weeks before the November election, the two candidates for Vancouver Port Commissioner District 1 are getting big checks.
This week Kris Greene accepted $140,000 from Tesoro Savage. The oil companies are behind an effort to build the nation’s largest oil-by-rail terminal at the port.
The $210 million Vancouver Energy terminal, backed by Tesoro Savage, would receive about four crude oil trains a day. The oil would be stored on site and later transferred to ships on the Columbia River. At full capacity, as many as 360,000 barrels of crude oil would pass through the terminal daily.
This is the third large contribution from the oil companies behind the project. Earlier this month, they sunk $150,000 into Greene's campaign. And in September, they contributed an additional $75,000.
Those recent contributions have brought Greene's campaign chest to just under $591,000 raised. According to Washington's Public Disclosure Commission, Vancouver Energy and Tesoro make up more than 87 percent of Greene's funding.
Greene also received a large TV ad buy from Enterprise Washington and its related People for Jobs PAC worth more than $160,000.
This year, the Enterprise PAC’s top donors are Tesoro and BNSF, the railway company that would haul oil into Vancouver.
But it’s not just big oil backing a candidate. Washington Conservation Voters have raised more than $290,000 in in-kind contributions to Greene’s opponent, Don Orange.
Orange is staunchly against the terminal and said the money is helping his campaign stay afloat.
“Knowing that I was going up against an oil company, I sought every bit of help that I could get,” Orange said. “It’s a David and Goliath situation. The help from Washington Conservation Voters is helping us survive.”
Shannon Murphy, the President of Washington Conservation Voters, said the in-kind donations will go toward voter outreach and grassroots campaign efforts.
“We know grassroots support is more important than big money from out of state oil companies,” said Murphy. “The most important thing is the fact that Don Orange has this diverse backing.”
Before the in-kind donation, Orange's campaign had raised a little more than $100,000, with more than 95 percent coming from individual donors. Now his campaign has about $395,000 raised.
The Vancouver Port Commissioner race is proving to be one of the most expensive port races in recent state history. So far, both candidates campaign chests combined total just under $1 million.
Ballots for the Clark County race go out on Friday and residents will have until Nov. 7 to vote.