On Friday, the Seattle Times published a piece introducing their readers to Bill Bryant, Governor Jay Inslee's Republican challenger. The piece said that Bryant, a former Seattle port commissioner, characterized himself as "a moderate with environmental, education, and business credentials while downplaying his GOP ties."
Bryant told the Times that his childhood in Hood Canal shaped his commitment to protect and clean up Puget Sound. But while the paper did acknowledge that Bryant's push to have the port host Arctic drilling equipment—a deal that later fell through when Shell abandoned its $7 billion Arctic mission— dealt a blow to Bryant's environmental credibility, the Times ignored several of Bryant's prominent backers who undermine the candidate's "moderate" and pro-environment platform.
Here are some of the backers the Times' profile missed:
1. The Evangelical Christian Millionaire Who Bankrolled Rick Santorum's Presidential Campaign
Foster Friess, the evangelical Christian investment millionaire largely responsible for Rick Santorum's presidential super PAC, has donated $2,000 to Bryant's campaign; Friess's wife, Lynn Friess, has donated another $2,000. In 2011, Foster Friess was also listed as one of the participants of Charles and David Koch's biannual retreats for conservative mega-donors. In a recording of a speech delivered by Charles Koch at the 2011 retreat, Koch thanked donors who had contributed more than $1 million to their political cause, including Foster Friess.
Foster Friess's name surfaced in mainstream media back in 2012, notoriously for a comment he gave defending Rick Santorum's anti-contraception stance on MSNBC. "You know, back in my days, they used Bayer aspirin for contraception," he told MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell. "The gals put it between their knees, and it wasn’t that costly.”
Friess is also a major supporter of Trump's presidential campaign. Moderate, much?
2. The Company That Wanted to Build Nation's Largest Coal Export Facility on the Salish Sea
Bryant told the Times that he has vowed to bring back Washington's salmon runs and leave Puget Sound cleaner when he dies "than when I was born." Despite these claims, one of Bryant's biggest financial supporters through his tenure as port commissioner, and now in his run for governor, is a company that tried to build what would have been the country's biggest coal export facility in Bellingham.
SSA Marine, one of the parent companies behind the Gateway Pacific Terminal, wanted to use the Bellingham terminal to export up to 54 million tons of bulk dry goods a year, much of it coal. The project lost its footing earlier this year after persistent campaigning from the Lummi Nation, which argued to the Army Corps of Engineers that the project would infringe on tribal fishing rights. At the end of 2014, a Department of Ecology study found that the export terminal would likely increase the number of oil spills by 26 percent and increase vessel traffic by 76 percent. In April, the Army Corps denied the export terminal a permit, finding that the project would impact tribal fishing.
SSA Marine has donated $3,800 to Bryant's gubernatorial campaign; its chairman of the board, Jon Hemingway, has donated an additional $3,800, and Hemingway's wife, Kim Hemingway, has contributed a matching number. During Bryant's runs for port commissioner, the Hemingways, SSA Marine, and people associated with the company donated $10,200 to Bryant's campaigns.
3. One of the Region's Biggest Opponents of Light Rail
One of the biggest sources of pollution to Puget Sound is stormwater runoff, a toxic brew made up of pollution from car exhausts, fertilizer, dog poop, and tobacco spit (and more). But despite Bryant's pro-Puget Sound platform, he's being supported by a local developer who has done everything in his power to stop the region from reducing its reliance on cars. Freeman, a Bellevue juggernaut who has routinely funneled money into campaigns fighting light rail expansion, even sued Sound Transit in 2010 over East Link. (The case went all the way up to the Washington State Supreme Court, which ruled that expanding light rail was not, in fact, illegal.)
Freeman and Kemper Holdings have contributed $6,800 to Bryant.