For the 1,700-member Clark County Association of REALTORS® (CCAR) in southwest Washington state, supporting John Blom for County Council was a no-brainer. As REALTOR® Champions go, there could hardly be a more obvious choice: Blom is the current President of CCAR, and has served as co-chair of its Government Affairs Committee for the past three years; he is a director of Washington REALTORS®, and serves on multiple Presidential Advisory Groups for the state association, as well as its Legislative Steering Committee; at the national level, he serves on the National Association of REALTORS®’ Land Use Committee. An RPAC Major Investor since 2013, Blom has been integral in helping CCAR achieve record-breaking annual investment. When John decided to run for office, the REALTORS® were there to support him.
Jo Ann Johnston, CCAR’s new Chief Executive Officer, received invaluable guidance from Washington REALTORS®’ Government Affairs Director Nathan Gorton as she applied to the REALTOR® Party for help through the State and Local Association Independent Expenditure Program. The first grant was support to help John win his primary race. Blom successfully made it past the primaries, but the defeated incumbent reacted by stirring up partisan resistance to Blom’s campaign. CCAR applied for and received an additional grant from the REALTOR® Party to help in the general election.
What makes the independent expenditure effort especially sporting, explains Johnston, is that Washington state, like many others, prohibits any communication between a candidate and an independent expenditure campaign. “It’s been a wild ride, these past few months, being so involved in John’s candidacy for County Council, but only communicating with him in his capacity as our association President,” she laughs. CCAR has special bylaws in place that allowed Johnston and a special leadership committee to approve the grant requests, and the release of substantial RPAC funds of its own, without the Board of Directors’ or John’s knowledge. During the primary, the candidate learned of the REALTOR® Party support when his wife called him from home to say, “There’s someone at the door asking me to vote for John Blom!”
In addition to the intensive grassroots door-knocking effort, CCAR also engaged in a major web advertising campaign, targeted mailings and social media blasts featuring a video it had produced about its candidate.
Although they’re not talking with each other about it, the support from the REALTORS® is allowing Blom to focus on the issues of the campaign. His platform includes fundamental community benefits, including support for public safety, affordable housing, traffic and transportation projects, job creation and mental health care. The County Council will also be wrestling with several steep challenges, such as updating the Comprehensive Plan to provide the growth needed to support affordable housing, as well as working through unfunded development mandates. These are issues that Blom understands and is well equipped to manage; he can also be trusted to heal the recent partisan strife on the Council, says Johnston. “Ultimately, if John wins, it’ll be good for the whole community,” she states. “He’s the missing piece in our City Council.”
With the high voter turn-out expected this presidential election year, every vote is going to count, notes Johnston. “A victory for John will be thanks in large part to the grants and support we’ve received from the REALTOR® Party.”
To learn more about how the REALTORS® of Clark County, Washington are supporting their REALTOR® Champion for County Council, contact Jo Ann Johnston, Association Executive of the Clark County Association of REALTORS®, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-695-5980.