The latest fundraising reports in the Washington governor’s race shows Republican Rob McKenna has overtaken Democrat Jay Inslee, the other leading candidate, in the run-up to the Aug. 7 primary. Both leading candidates are expected to easily move on to the November general election despite a field that has seven other less-known hopefuls.
Campaign-finance reports, which cover the six-week period through Monday, show McKenna raised $1,061,521 in that pre-primary period. It demonstrates he has fully recovered from the 4½-month fundraising freeze he had to abide by as state attorney general from late November to mid-April.
McKenna has raised $6.875 million so far in his campaign, while Inslee has raised just over $6.8 million – giving the Republican a slight $70,000 edge. But McKenna also has nearly $3.59 million cash on hand (after deducting debts) as of Monday, compared to just over $2.7 million for Inslee, and is better positioned to get out his message after the primary.
Inslee has already begun running ads, which cut into his available funds; McKenna’s ads are expected soon.
McKenna’s campaign quickly used the fundraising edge to say that Inslee, who only quit his seat in Congress in the spring, is not as popular with his supporters as McKenna is. They noted in a news release that Inslee’s cash includes money converted from his congressional campaign accounts and that the state Democratic Party has helped their nominee make up some of the difference between his own fundraising total and that of McKenna.
Data on file with the state Public Disclosure Commission show that the Democratic Party has been making monthly contributions of more than $50,000 this year, adding $130,000 on June 29 and a total of $815,000 since last July.
Benton Strong, a spokesman for the Democratic Party, said Inslee may be getting funds from the party, but McKenna also can expect to get significant help from the Republican Governors Association, for whom McKenna has attended fundraisers. Strong also drew attention to McKenna’s recent fundraising efforts with oil interests in Texas, with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal in Spokane, and today with Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who chairs the RGA, in Virginia.
Strong noted that McDonnell is aligned with the Tea Party, wants to repeal of the Affordable Care Act, has worked to make it harder fo women to get legal abortions , and revived Confederate History Month in his state in 2010. in putting out a proclamation for that history event, McDonnell failed to mention slavery was part of that history. McKenna's campaign points out that Inslee has been at fundraisers led by former New York governor Eliot Spitzer, the crusader against Wall Street abuses who was brought down by his involvement in a prostitution scandal.