By Kirk Starratt
The County of Kings won’t be keeping campaign deposits paid by two candidates in the October election that the Supreme Court has ruled were not disqualified.
The county announced Jan. 23 that the $200 campaign deposits paid by Rick Ackland and Jim Winsor would be returned and that the two would likely be notified of that decision that day. The municipality wasn’t legally obliged to return the deposits as part of the court decision.
Following the announcement, Winsor said he had received notification by e-mail his deposit would be reimbursed. Prior to the news, he said he didn’t want the refund issue to become a distraction, but he’d suggest the county should have considered refunding the money when the returning officer ruled them disqualified.
“It’s $200,” he said. “That’s significant for me. You’d think they automatically would have said they would.”
Winsor said he has set a campaign budget around $5,800 for the upcoming March 16 special election. He spent a little over $5,000 on his October campaign and recognizes pretty much all those costs would be there again. For example, he handed out most of his brochures in October, but couldn’t use those left over anyway because dates and other information has changed.
Prior to the county’s announcement that the deposits would be returned, Ackland said the municipality isn’t appealing the court decision, but those affected by the municipality’s actions in October haven’t received an apology either. He wondered why, if he and Winsor did nothing wrong, the municipality hadn’t automatically returned their $200 campaign deposits from October,
He recognized he didn’t seek damages or expenses as part of the legal challenge, but said it would be a show of good faith to return the money.
Ackland said he asked the county’s lawyer to ask his client to return his deposit.
“If you think I’ll allow them to improperly keep the $200, I won’t,” Ackland said. “They have money they shouldn’t have.”