Politics Where the Money Went this Election
posted by November 11 at 13:16 PMon
So-called independent expenditures—money spent by PACs to influence elections—continued to play a major role in state elections this year, with more than $22 million spent to support and oppose candidates and ballot measures, according to the state Public Disclosure Commission. The vast majority of that was spent in the governor’s race, where dozens of PACs spent tens of millions of dollars, most of it on ads, for and against Republican Dino Rossi and Democrat Christine Gregoire.
PACs also spent a surprising amount on down-ticket state and legislative races. Republican attorney general Rob McKenna, who won reelection easily, received a $449,000 expenditure from the state Republican Party, as well as about $29,000 from a PAC representing Realtors. Republican incumbent land commissioner Doug Sutherland got a similar amount from the Realtors, plus nearly $600,000 from a timber and mining-funded PAC called the Committee for Balanced Stewardship. (He was defeated by Democrat Peter Goldmark).
In the race for schools superintendent, a group called Citizens for Washington, funded by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), poured $200,000 into Randy Dorn’s successful bid to defeat incumbent Terry Bergeson. In legislative races, victorious 36th District House candidate Reuven Carlyle received nearly $44,000 in independent expenditures, much of it from the Realtors, a PAC representing dentists, and a group called Responsible Leadership for Washington funded primarily by the restaurant and beverage industries. Those groups also all gave to 11th District state Senator Margarita Prentice.
The biggest recipients of PAC largesse, however, were two Republicans: Kevin Parker, who defeated Spokane legislator Don Barlow in the 6th District with nearly $173,000 in help from PACs including Enterprise Washington—a business group that also spent money on Carlyle—and Jan Angel, who defeated Democrat Kim Abel with the help of nearly $150,000 in PAC money, much of it from Enterprise Washington and It’s Time for a Change, a group best known for spending millions on Dino Rossi’s failed gubernatorial bid.