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Originally published May 13, 2009 at 12:00 AM | Page modified May 13, 2009 at 10:49 AM

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King County executive hopefuls raise $200,000 for bids

Five candidates for King County executive received more than $200,000 in combined campaign contributions in April, with Metropolitan King County Council Chair Dow Constantine leading the pack, followed by County Councilmember Larry Phillips and former KIRO-TV anchor Susan Hutchison.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Despite the battered economy, five candidates for King County executive received more than $200,000 in combined campaign contributions in April.

And that's despite the fact one candidate — former KIRO-TV anchor Susan Hutchison — didn't enter the race until April 8 and two others couldn't legally accept donations until after the Legislature adjourned April 26.

Voters will decide in the county's largest-yet vote-by-mail primary Aug. 18 which two candidates move on to the November election. The election is nonpartisan.

Metropolitan King County Council Chairman Dow Constantine — boosted by a gathering of grunge musicians and fans — posted the largest haul, $70,584.

Hutchison got a fast start, raising $58,880 in her first three weeks as a declared candidate.

Constantine's council colleague, Larry Phillips, received $58,884 in contributions. But Phillips, who was the first to enter the race — challenging then-County Executive Ron Sims before Sims was selected to join the Obama administration — has raised the most ($274,631) since he entered the race.

Phillips also has the largest cash balance ($154,683), followed by Constantine ($103,032).

Two state legislators, Sen. Fred Jarrett, of Mercer Island, and Rep. Ross Hunter, of Medina, were hobbled by the ban on fundraising while the Legislature was in session. Despite that, Jarrett took in $9,071 and Hunter $9,600.

Jarrett has a balance of minus $19,065, after taking into account a loan from himself and the $29,000 he owes Peter D. Hart Research for polling.

Alan Lobdell, a former consultant and project manager who has never held countywide office, reported no contributions or expenditures.

Candidates reported monthly contributions to the state Public Disclosure Commission on Monday. It is the first county executive election in many years without an incumbent in the race.

"We had a very good month, and we outraised the other candidates," said Constantine campaign spokesman Sandeep Kaushik. "It's a good sign for us that there is momentum behind our campaign. We will build on that going forward."

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The Constantine campaign claimed contributions from 780 individual donors, the Phillips campaign 790.

About 300 Constantine supporters and music lovers attended a fundraiser hosted by some of Seattle's legendary musicians at the recently reopened Crocodile. Stone Gossard, of Pearl Jam; Krist Novoselic, of Nirvana; and Kim Thayil, of Soundgarden, each gave the legal limit of $1,600 to Constantine's campaign.

The Phillips campaign wasn't shaken by Constantine's strong month, said Phillips' political consultant, Cathy Allen. Phillips is bringing in contributions averaging $60,000 to $70,000 a month, she said: "That's right where we want to be. We are right on budget. We are right on track."

Phillips' large contributors include developers Frank Stagen and Jon Runstad, lobbyists and Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln.

Hutchison, executive director of the Charles Simonyi Fund for Arts and Sciences, has kept a low profile since announcing her candidacy. She didn't return phone calls Monday or Tuesday and didn't attend an Alki Foundation candidate forum last week.

Hutchison's top contributors include Bellevue Square developer Kemper Freeman, Wells Fargo executive John Rindlaub and former Microsoft executive Simonyi.

Keith Ervin: 206-464-2105 or kervin@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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