Last September, gubernatorial candidate Joshua Freed borrowed $ 500,000 for his campaign to establish himself as the Republican challenger for Governor Jay Inslee’s bid for a third term.
In a campaign motion this week, Freed reported that he had withdrawn the loan. But state law says he can’t do that. Legally, it’s about a cent, half a million.
When asked about the repayment, Freed said in a text on Thursday that he had “already started” to transfer the money back to the campaign account. He called it a “technical accounting flaw” and wants the money to be counted as a direct donation, not a loan.
In this week’s filing, Freed’s campaign reported that it had repaid the entire $ 500,000 personal loan on Jan. 31. But state law limits loan repayments to candidates to $ 6,000 in an area code and an additional $ 6,000 in the general election. Anything beyond that must stick with the campaign – a requirement that is in place to prevent candidates from using a large loan to scare off competitors and take the money back later.
The former Mayor of Bothell and Hausbauer gave somewhat contradicting reports of the events. On Wednesday, Freed said in a text that when he entered the governor’s race “I put money in as a loan,” but later decided that he didn’t want it to appear that way in his campaign books. On Thursday, he said the $ 500,000 was “initially mistakenly labeled a loan.”
He said a loan on the books made it appear like his campaign had higher liabilities and his cash was not displaying properly.
In any case, Freed dismissed the transfers as irrelevant and said he would spend his time talking about “our state’s problems and my solutions for Washingtoners.”
The loan was repaid by another Republican gubernatorial candidate, Maple Valley program manager Anton Sakharov, who aired a Facebook post: “That sounds like a campaign violation. That’s not a good look for a candidate or for the Republican Party. “
Kim Bradford, a spokeswoman for the state’s Public Disclosure Commission (PDC), said the agency had contacted the Freed campaign about state candidate loan laws and “offered to work with them if they return the money.” in how to do it right. “
Even without the loan, Freed raised $ 287,000 – more than any other Republican gubernatorial candidate, PDC reports show.
In his campaign, Freed highlighted the state’s homelessness crisis, saying it was a failure of the leadership of Inslee and other Democrats. He has promised not to take a salary if there is an election and said he would donate the money to homeless shelters and drug rehabilitation facilities.
When he entered the gubernatorial race last September, Freed was among a handful of contestants to challenge Inslee – all relatively unknown across the country.
But in November, Tim Eyman, a long-time supporter of anti-tax initiatives, announced that he would run for governor. Eyman initially said he would run as an Independent, but this week he said he would run as a Republican.
Although he never ran for office, Eyman is as well known as any politician in Washington State. A KING 5 poll earlier this month found he had the most support among Inslee’s challengers.
It’s unclear to what extent a personal $ 500,000 campaign push from Freed – and he says he could invest more – can overcome Eyman’s advantage with name identification. With the tied up money, he’ll find out. In one text, Freed said he was “building strength as I fight full-time across the state”.
He is planning a formal opening breakfast for the campaign on March 5th in Bellevue.