Politics & Government

Steve O’Ban says opponent Tami Green was ‘angling’ for PAC money

State Rep. Tami Green, D-Lakewood, hasn’t kept pace with her opponent, Republican state Sen. Steve O’Ban, when it comes to fundraising and campaign spending.

That may change soon, though, since this week Green gained the support of a environmental political action committee backed by California billionaire Tom Steyer.

O’Ban, of University Place, isn’t happy about the news. In a Facebook post Friday, the O’Ban campaign said, “It’s quite clear Tami Green has been angling for Steyer’s money.”

How? By playing up how her priorities differ from O’Ban’s when it comes to environmental issues, according to the Facebook post.

Yet at a candidate forum Thursday, Green said that the money from Steyer’s NextGen Climate PAC makes her a little nervous. “I lose control of the message,” she told a group of about 30 people gathered at Lakewood Presbyterian Church.

She said she hasn’t launched negative attack ads against O’Ban, but that Steyer’s PAC could do so and she’d have no control over it – something she said makes her uncomfortable.

So far, Green’s campaign has been the underdog in the race in terms of spending and raising money. O’Ban’s campaign has outraised Green more than 2 to 1, and spent $369,000 to her $123,000.

Independent groups have also spent $100,000 opposing Green.

As of Friday, NextGen Climate hadn’t poured any money into the Green-O’Ban race, but the group says it will soon. The group is focused on electing state legislative candidates “who are ready to take action to address climate change,” according to a press release.

The group has $1 million on hand – donated by Steyer – to spend in Washington races. The PAC said Wednesday that it will be focusing on supporting Green in the 28th Legislative District, as well as Democratic candidate Matt Isenhower, who is looking to unseat Senate budget writer Andy Hill, R-Redmond.

The 28th Legislative District encompasses a politically moderate section of West Pierce County including Steilacoom, Dupont, Joint-Base Lewis McChord, Fircrest, University Place, and parts of Lakewood and Tacoma.