Today launches the 21-day pre-primary-election period during which independent expenditures -- typically ads done without the consent, coordination or control of a candidate -- must be reported within 24 hours.
Since the candidates themselves are at arms-length to these ads, they're often the nastiest of an election. And with at least two of the three state Supreme Court races likely to be decided in the September primary, expect to see some activity.
So far, independent expenditures have been fairly quiet. The conservative Building Industry Association of Washington has spent about $95,000 promoting the Supreme Court bids of Stephen Johnson and John Groen. (That's mostly on Groen, if you look at the spending on the state Public Disclosure Commission's independent-expenditure tracking page.)
But there's definitely more coming. Driving to work this morning, I caught a new radio ad blasting incumbent Justice Tom Chambers for not siding with the court majority in a recent decision upholding the state's same-sex marriage ban. The ad touted challenger Jeanette Burrage, a one-time state lawmaker and former judge who can use the help -- PDC records show she's raised $25,000 to Chambers' nearly $170,000.