When it comes to campaign contributions from Washington, presidential candidates are likely to follow the advice of notorious bank robber Willie Sutton, and go where the money is.
For most of the leading Democratic candidates still in the race, that’s ZIP code 98112, a small area of Seattle south of the University of Washington from the western edge of Lake Washington to the east side of Capitol Hill.
A computer analysis of Federal Election Commission reports by The Spokesman-Review shows that former Vice President Joe Biden; South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg; Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren; New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker; and entrepreneur Andrew Yang all had their best fundraising success from addresses in that ZIP code through the first half of 2019. As a group, they’ve raised more than $150,000 from donors in that area.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has received the most money from a nearby Seattle ZIP code, 98103, which includes the Green Lake, Woodland Park and Fremont neighborhoods.
President Donald Trump’s most lucrative ZIP code so far is in Camas, Washington, a city east of Vancouver, thanks in part to donations totaling the maximum of $5,600 each from the president of an investment firm and his wife.
But Trump, like many of his would-be Democratic opponents, has his second biggest contribution total from the Mercer Island ZIP code, which is home to some of the state’s most expensive residences.
Except for Jay Inslee, who had what many would call a home field advantage, Trump has raised more campaign money from Washington donors than any Democratic presidential candidate, and has outraised even Inslee in Spokane County.
But the Democrats preparing for Tuesday’s debate have, as a group, raised more than Trump in the state and the county through the first half of 2019.
FEC reports show Trump has raised nearly $704,000 from Washington state for his 2020 re-election campaign. He collected more than $49,000 of that from donors living in Spokane-area ZIP codes. His most lucrative local ZIP code thus far, where he collected some $7,700, is 99224, which includes the West Plains between the Spokane city limits and Airway Heights, and suburban areas along U.S. Highway 195 south of the city.
Inslee, a two-term Washington governor who recently abandoned his presidential campaign to seek re-election, raised more than twice that statewide, nearly $1.8 million in his 5 1/2 month run. But he received only $16,300 from Spokane ZIP codes, and trailed Sanders for local financial support.
Of the more than $3.3 million contributed to presidential candidates still in the race from Washington addresses, about $1.2 million comes from Seattle. Although the state has been reliably Democratic in presidential races since 1988, candidates of both parties for years have visited the city and its nearby cities to feed their campaign coffers.
The Spokane area has not been a major source of presidential campaign donations, and the most current FEC records available don’t suggest that will change. Washington’s top 27 postal areas for presidential campaign contributions are in Seattle or nearby King County communities; the first total for a Spokane ZIP code – downtown’s 99201 – shows up at 63rd. Most of the $11,000 from those addresses has gone to Democrats.
The South Hill ZIP code of 99203 is not far behind, with about $10,000 in contributions to all candidates, about $7,000 of it going to Democrats.
Except for Inslee’s total, statewide financial support for the Democrats still campaigning is similar to the most recent national polling results.
Biden is in the lead, with more than $531,000 in contributions from around the state. Sanders is second, with nearly $448,900, Warren is a close third with $423,000 and Buttigieg is fourth with almost $375,000.
Sanders, Warren and Buttigieg all received more donations from Spokane County than Biden, however.
California Sen. Kamala Harris is fifth statewide with nearly $243,000, Booker sixth with nearly $125,000 and Yang seventh at nearly $106,500. Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii and former HUD Secretary Julian Castro are all below $100,000 in donations from Washington residents. Reports for billionaire Tom Steyer, who joined the campaign in July, aren’t yet posted.
Candidate reports for the third quarter of the year were due at the beginning of the month and are expected to posted later in October.
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