Hague opens wallet wider in King County Council race
King County Councilmember Jane Hague, locked in a surprisingly tough race with a challenger who has never held public office, has poured...
Seattle Times staff reporter
King County Councilmember Jane Hague, locked in a surprisingly tough race with a challenger who has never held public office, has poured more than $100,000 of her own money into her re-election campaign.
In a filing posted Wednesday by the state Public Disclosure Commission, Hague's campaign said she spent $63,300 on Oct. 15 for cable-TV ads and fliers mailed to voters.
That brings the Bellevue Republican's personal contributions to $102,300, including a $4,000 loan. All of the money was given in October.
Her latest contributions boosted her campaign total to nearly $400,000, a record for a County Council race. Hague's Democratic challenger, Richard Pope, has raised $33,482, most of it from his own pocket.
"I'm proud of my service to this community over the past 20 years and I wanted to show my commitment to my supporters to do what it takes to win this race and to continue to serve the great people of the 6th District," Hague said in a prepared statement.
Early on, Hague had been considered a sure thing to win a fifth council election to represent the Eastside district. That was before revelations that she had been charged in July with drunken driving, falsely claimed a college degree, and paid an $8,000 fine for violating campaign-finance laws. She has pleaded not guilty to driving under the influence.
Her Democratic opponent, Richard Pope, has run for office 10 times, switched parties three times, and wasn't endorsed by the county Democratic Party after he won the nomination.
Hague and the county Republican Party have mailed ads attacking Pope over his record of being reprimanded by judges for angry outbursts at an opposing lawyer and client, repeatedly missing court deadlines, and blaming missed deadlines on personal depression.
One of those attack ads misfired when it incorrectly said Paul Brecht, an electrician who declared his support for Pope in a Pope-campaign mailing, had been convicted of assault. Court records showed Brecht actually was convicted of violating a no-contact order by talking to his wife on the phone and meeting with her.
Pope, who has represented Brecht before, this week filed a lawsuit on his behalf claiming Brecht was defamed by Hague, her husband and her campaign consultants.
Although Hague's personal contributions to her campaign aren't the most ever given in a County Council race, they are unusually large. Chris Caputo, a Libertarian, spent $169,000 of his own money in an unsuccessful bid to unseat Democratic Councilmember Larry Phillips in 1999.
Hague's husband, Ed Springman, contributed $500 for yard signs, the campaign reported.
"It just looks like she's extremely worried," Pope said of Hague's campaign contributions. "If she hadn't put in $100,000, she would still have had over $300,000 in this campaign and be outspending me 10 to 1 instead of 13 to 1."
Phillips, a Seattle Democrat who supports Republican Hague over Democrat Pope, said of her contributions, "It suggests that Jane is really serious about retaining her seat and being re-elected to the King County Council. She wants to continue to be a player, and that's a significant statement."
Hague's campaign consultant, Brett Bader, said her supporters have contributed thousands of dollars since her drunken-driving arrest became publicly known in August, even though she hasn't actively sought contributions during that period.
"There was a lot going on in the campaign," Bader said. "The decision was, 'Now we've got to run hard and do the campaign thing. We don't have time to go out and raise money.' "
Other candidates have contributed heavily to their own campaigns this year, though not under the same circumstances as Hague.
State Public Disclosure Commission records show Port of Seattle Commissioner Bob Edwards has put $113,208 of his own money into his race against challenger Gael Tarleton, who has run a strong campaign.
Seattle City Council candidate Tim Burgess has contributed $67,865 to his campaign against well-funded incumbent David Della, according to the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission.
Loans by Pope to his own campaign make up $29,646 of the $33,482 campaign fund.
Hague is the first County Council candidate ever to raise, on paper, more than $400,000. But the number, $432,628, is misleading because it includes $47,400 that was intended for a 2005 campaign surplus account but was accidentally deposited into the 2007 campaign.
The money was withdrawn from the campaign account, meaning Hague has actually raised $385,228 — still a record.
The most raised previously by a County Council candidate was the $351,893 reported in 2005 by Councilmember Reagan Dunn, R-Maple Valley.
Staff reporter Bob Young contributed to this report.
Keith Ervin: 206-464-2105 or email@example.com
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company
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