Eye On Olympia

Senate war chests for 2008 and beyond...

Running some things through the PDC database on a slow day shows that although it's still April, some state senators have racked up pretty good campaign war chests:

At the top is Spokane's Lisa Brown, the Democratic Senate majority leader, with $131, 104. Brown has been in the statehouse since 1993 and is one of the two most powerful lawmakers in Olympia. She's up for re-election this year. No one has filed to run against her.

Others:

-Sen. Mararita Prentice, D-Renton, who chairs the budget-writing Ways and Means Committee: $129,900.
-Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver: $107,842.
-Senate Minority Leader Mike Hewitt, R-Walla Walla: $102,199.
-Sen. Joe Zarelli, R-Ridgefield, who is GOP's budget point man in the Senate: $73,868.
-Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, who was just named chairman of a legislative pension policy committee: $65,971.

And some in the Senate are planning well in advance. Sen. Bob Morton, R-Kettle Falls, is sitting on more than $61,000 in campaign cash, and Sen. Chris Marr, D-Spokane, isn't far behind at $54,635. Why that's more impressive than it seems: their next elections aren't until 2010.

And it's important to remember that candidates don't have to spend the money on their own race. While they cannot directly donate so-called surplus funds to another candidate, they are allowed to send the money to political parties or a caucus political committees, which CAN give the money to candidates. And being a money magnet for your party -- and by extension, your legislative colleagues -- is a quick way to amass clout in Olympia.




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