Rossi raises twice as much as Murray

OLYMPIA - Republican Dino Rossi has $1.8 million in the bank two weeks out from Washington state's primary election, raising more than $573,000 last month in his effort to oust incumbent Democratic Sen. Patty Murray.

New campaign finance reports released by his campaign Thursday afternoon show Rossi raised nearly double the amount of money that Murray did in the one-month period ending July 28. However, Murray still had more money on hand, $3.2 million.

Murray, who is seeking a fourth term in the U.S. Senate, spent about $3.9 million last month, most of it for advertising, according to the preprimary report released by her campaign on Wednesday. Rossi spent about $152,000 in July.

President Barack Obama is scheduled to travel to Washington state to raise money for Murray on Aug. 17, which is primary election day.

Rossi raised more than $517,000 in individual contributions last month, and brought in an addit- ional $56,500 through political committees. Murray had $265,000 in individual donations during that same time period, and another $37,000 from political committees.

Rossi campaign spokeswoman Jennifer Morris said his July totals show that he is building “a grassroots network of supporters eager to elect a senator who will represent the issues important to Washington state families and job creators.”

Murray faces several candidates in Washington’s top two primary, including Rossi, a two-time gubernatorial runner-up. Also in the primary is former Washington Redskins player Clint Didier, who has been endorsed by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Didier, whose campaign has not gained much traction, has joined forces with another little-known Republican candidate, Paul Akers, and they put out a joint radio ad this week.

National Republicans courted Rossi aggressively after polls earlier this year showed he would be competitive.

The race between the two has heated up in the past week, with a new TV ad in which Murray criticizes Rossi for favoring repeal of the new financial regulations. That bill, signed into law by President Barack Obama last month, imposes the stiffest restrictions on banks and Wall Street since the Great Depression.

In response, Rossi criticized the Murray campaign’s negative tone and noted that Murray voted in favor of the bailouts that are mentioned in her ad, as images of George W. Bush are flashed on the screen.

Last month, Murray was the target of a Washington, D.C.-based conservative group that called into question her “mom in tennis shoes” status.

Murray campaign spokeswoman Julie Edwards said that Rossi is benefiting from corporate lobbyists who appreciate his stand on Wall Street reform.

“Of course, they are going to line up to support the national Republicans’ hand-picked candidate,” she wrote in an e-mail.