Rich races - 41st District candidates raise $800K
October 8, 2008 · Updated 4:24 PM
Campaign contributions to the candidates running for public office in the Island’s legislative district is evidence of the significance of the three seats up for grabs in Olympia this fall. The total of all contributions to candidates running in the 41st District is the second highest total in the state among all 49 districts, while some Islanders have also used their checkbooks to show their support or opposition toward statewide races and initiatives on the ballot this fall.
According to data available from the Washington Public Disclosure Commission (PDC), contributions in the Island’s legislative district — the 41st District includes Mercer Island and parts of Bellevue and Renton — have exceeded $800,000. Only the 10th District, which encompasses Whidbey and Camano Islands, Stanwood, Burlington and La Conner, has raised the most, totaling $872,795 as of last week. The amount of donations given to 41st candidates is approaching the level raised in 2004, the last time when both House seats and the Senate seat were open. That year, contributions within the district totaled $1,172,630.34 — raised among six of eight candidates who filed for office. This year, five candidates are on the ballot.
The contribution limit for state legislative campaigns for individuals, Political Action Committees, unions, corporations and other entities is $800 per election. Donations from those same contributor categories to state executive positions are limited to $1,600 per election. Individuals may also contribute an unlimited amount of money to state parties or caucuses.
Leading the 41st candidates is Renton resident Marcie Maxwell, who is running as a Democrat against current Island Councilmember Steve Litzow for the State House. Combined, Maxwell and her Republican opponent have reported more than $312,400 donated toward their campaigns. Maxwell has raised about $16,000 more than her opponent, receiving over 900 contributions totaling $169,000. Her largest contribution to date, Sept. 4, was a sum of $35,000 and given by the House Democratic Campaign Committee, which is registered in Seattle. The 41st District Democrats also contributed a large sum of $4,000 toward the Maxwell campaign on Sept. 26, along with three additional $1,000-donations made by the same organization earlier this summer.
Litzow’s largest donations have also come through party-based committees. The largest so far was from the House Republican Organizational Committee on Sept. 26, in the amount of $20,000. Two previous contributions from that organization totaled $4,000. The County Republican Center Committee also gave him $2,500. He has received 239 donations out of 594 total contributions from Island addresses, while Maxwell had 88 donations from Mercer Island. Several Islanders donated to either of the candidates more than once.
For the state Senate seat, Fred Jarrett, running as a Democrat after serving three and a half terms as a Republican in the House, has raised $143,100. His contributions rank 25th out of the 314 positions up for election this year. His opponent, Bob Baker, has raised $68,600. Judy Clibborn, who is running unopposed for the Island’s second House seat, has received $117,700.
Statewide, Democrats running for the state Legislature have raised $10 million, while Republicans have received a total of $6 million.
In statewide races, Islanders have also been generous in donating toward the governor’s race and voter initiatives. More than 600 checks from Island residents have been mailed to the re-election efforts of Democrat incumbent Chris Gregoire. Her opponent, Republican Dino Rossi, has also received more than 600 donations from Islanders.
Other residents have made significant contributions to voter initiatives on this year’s ballot. Islander Richard Ferry has donated $20,000 toward opposition to the Death With Dignity Act. A total of 53 Island-based donations were given to the group opposing the act. In addition to the individual contributions, the Island’s St. Monica Catholic Parish donated $20,000 toward the fight against the initiative. The number of Island contributions supporting the initiative was as high as 86 last week.