With a week to go before city elections, the money race in Spokane continues to gather speed.
Spending by independent political groups has reached $935,000 – an increase of $250,000 from just a week ago, according to the state Public Disclosure Commission.
Much of that spending has come from the Washington Realtors Political Action Committee, which has spent $126,500 since Oct. 23 on the conservative bloc of four candidates attempting to take control of City Hall: Nadine Woodward, Cindy Wendle, Michael Cathcart and Andy Rathbun.
The Realtors PAC, which is not part of any official candidate campaign, has used this money to produce and buy TV and radio ads, do polling, mail campaign flyers, and pay people to go door-to-door to stump for the candidates.
In all, the state Realtors have spent more than $1 million on races across the state, but has focused much of its spending on Spokane and, in particular, Woodward and Wendle, who have collectively had $440,000 spent in support of their campaigns by the group.
Another conservative PAC, the Spokane Good Government Alliance, also has spent big on this year’s municipal races. It has raised $300,000, and spent $151,000 so far.
The last of the big spending independent political groups is the union-funded Citizens for Liberty and Labor PAC. The group, which gets much of its money from the Spokane Firefighters Union Local 29, has raised $240,000 and spent $136,000.
This PAC money is separate from the money raised and spent by the individual campaigns. Collectively, the 10 separate campaigns have raised $1.17 million and spent $865,000.
Mayoral candidate and City Council president Ben Stuckart has spent $263,000, the most of this year’s campaigns. He is closely followed by his opponent, Woodward, who has spent $201,000. The race between Stuckart and Woodard has generated more than $1 million in campaign and PAC spending.
Tim Benn, who is running in northeast Spokane for council District 1, has spent the least of the campaigns, with $9,500. No independent money has been spent on his behalf.
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