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From gun control to same-sex marriage to legalized marijuana, national organizations have decided they love a state big enough to test out their legislation on a diverse population, but small enough to have relatively few media markets (the term campaign types use for cities) and relatively affordable ad rates.
Thus we see corporate agriculture and the organic food industry preparing to spend millions on a food labeling initiative. They’ll likely subscribe to the Costco theory of ballot politics, which says that if you spend enough money, and try enough times, you can convince
It’s not a terrible thing have outside interests using their money trying to tell
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OLYMPIA — Even without the final spending tallied, this year's governor's race was the most expensive in state history and outside independent groups spent a record amounts trying to convince residents to vote against Jay Inslee and Rob McKenna.
Post-election reports filed this week with the state Public Disclosure Commission show the Inslee and McKenna campaigns spent a combined $25.7 million in the race to be Washingon's next governor. With other candidates eliminated in the primary, and by incumbent Chris Gregoire before she opted out of the race, spending hit nearly $26.2 million, passing the record set in 2008 by nearly $1 million.
Inslee and McKenna still could list more spending in the next month or so because neither filed a final report.
Republican McKenna, a two-term state attorney general, spent more, about $13.66 million, in his losing effort. Democrat Inslee, who resigned his congressional seat before his term ended, spent about $12.1 million.
Also up this campaign season was spending by independent groups both for and against the two candidates. Most of it went for television commercials that blanketed the airwaves in the fall.
Led by the Republican Governor's Association, independent groups spent $9.3 million against Inslee. They also contributed heavily to some $1.2 million spent for independent ads supporting McKenna.
On the other side, a group calling itself Our Washington, which collected large sums from the Democratic Governors Association and organized labor, spent almost $9 million against McKenna. Washington Conservation Voters and the Service Employees International Union led groups that spent more than $825,000 supporting Inslee.
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A startling statistic, courtesy of the state Public Disclosure Commission and Secretary of State’s offices: Neary three times as much money has been raised by the campaigns for and against the ballot measures as the combined total raised by all legislative, judicial, county and city candidates this year.
Money raised for and against the ballot measures: $60.2 million.
Money raised by all candidates: $21.5 million.
Many readers may have sensed that, based on the commercials flooding the airwaves, the mailers clogging the mail boxes, and the robo calls tying up the phone lines.
But it’s possible you ain’t seen nothing yet. That’s because the initiative campaigns have only reported spending $41.6 million of the money they took in. And they’ve got a fairly small window of opportunity to convince you to vote yes or no. The window closes a little bit more each day until Nov. 2, when it shuts all together.
There was a huge influx of money last week because of limits placed on donors in the final three weeks of the campaign.