Governor's race close again — in money
Despite some star power and big donations from the state Democratic Party, Gov. Christine Gregoire only edged Republican challenger Dino...
The Associated Press
OLYMPIA — Despite some star power and big donations from the state Democratic Party, Gov. Christine Gregoire only edged Republican challenger Dino Rossi by about $200,000 in midsummer fundraising, state campaign-finance reports showed Wednesday.
Nevertheless, Gregoire ends July with about $4.2 million in the bank — more than $580,000 ahead of the bottom-line balance for Rossi, whom she beat in 2004 by just 133 votes after three vote counts and a court challenge.
The Gregoire-Rossi rematch already is the costliest governor's race in state history: The two have raised more than $15 million combined, and both campaigns have collected more than Gregoire's previous record haul of $6.36 million in 2004.
The latest filings, which cover the period of June 1-July 28, include an estimated $400,000 that Gregoire's campaign says it collected from a fundraiser earlier this month headlined by Michelle Obama, wife of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.
The finance reports also show two contributions of $200,000 each from the state Democratic Party Central Committee, which isn't subject to the same $3,200 contribution limit that individual donors must follow.
But even with that $800,000 boost, Gregoire topped Rossi's fundraising efforts in June and July by just over $200,000. Rossi's campaign said that shows the Republican challenger, a former state senator, is running strong against the incumbent Democrat.
"Gregoire pulled out all the stops this month with her big fundraiser with Michelle Obama," Rossi spokeswoman Jill Strait said. "And yet the only way she was able to outraise us was to take money from the state Democratic Party."
Gregoire spokesman Aaron Toso replied that money flowing to the state party simply shows donors — and voters — are more in tune with Democratic priorities and Gregoire's record.
"The voters in Washington care about Democratic values," Toso said.
That explanation, however, glosses over $300,000 in donations to the state party during June and July from the Democratic Governors' Association, a national group that supports Democratic gubernatorial candidates.
Its GOP counterpart, the Republican Governors Association, has made its own big contributions to the state Republican Party — a total of $250,000 in the past two months, according to state Public Disclosure Commission reports.
The state Republican Party's campaign committee, however, hasn't yet made large donations to Rossi's campaign.
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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