Burner Outpaces Reichert on Local Donations

US Rep. Dave Reichert’s spin on Democratic challenger Darcy Burner is that her campaign fund is bolstered by out-of-staters—those carpetbagging netroots folks. 

And the Seattle Times ran with that angle earlier this month:

The outpouring reveals an aspect of Burner’s rematch against U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert that is under the radar for many 8th Congressional District voters: While her campaign talks up her blue-collar roots and family life, online activists from all over the country see her as one of their own.

Her immense popularity among the netroots — an informal, progressive group of bloggers — has boosted her campaign and helped her raise more than $2.3 million, topping Reichert, the Republican incumbent.

But Burner’s critics, including the Reichert campaign, are using those ties against her. They argue that she can’t represent the interests of the 8th District when some of her biggest supporters are liberal bloggers who never have set foot in Seattle’s eastern suburbs.

“Darcy Burner is pretty open about the fact that she wants to go to Congress to represent the netroots,” said Reichert’s campaign manager, Mike Shields. “That is her constituency, and that is who she’s raised money from, and so that’s who she’ll do the bidding of.” 

The Seattle Times‘ sensationalized spin about carpetbagging left out some important context that shows Burner isn’t a puppet of funders from out of state. If you compare Burner’s and Reichert’s donations, you see that Burner has more in-district donors and more in-state donors than Reichert. 

According to analysis of Federal Elections Commission records of individual donors at $200 or above (the level at which biographical info is available) done by Dan Kirkdorffer, a Burner supporter from the 8th District, Burner has 581 in-district donors compared to Reichert’s 446 in-district donors. Burner has 1,311 in-state donors compared to Reichert’s 922 in-state donors.

Burner’s dollar totals from in the district and in the state are also higher than Reichert’s: $685,000 to $635,000 in-district and $1.3 million to $1.1 million in-state, respectively.  

Reichert’s rejoinder could be that a higher percentage of his donations come from in the state and in the district. And that’s true. But Burner has more local donors total, which is a far more significant statistic when making claims about hometown support. For example, she has 42 percent more in-state donors, and 30 percent more in-district donors, than Reichert.

According to Act Blue, the netroots fundraising site, Burner has raised $544,837 from their online donors.  She’s raised about $3.1 million overall, which means netroots donors account for only 16 percent of her money. 

Certainly, Burner has a large number of Act Blue donors, over 15,000 according to Act Blue. Some of these donors are captured in the analysis of FEC reports—others are not because many Act Blue donors fall below the $200 level. While those donors would certainly bump up the number of Burner’s out-of-state contributors, they’d also bump up her in-state donor tally, increasing her lead over Reichert on that score.  

Another important part of the fundraising story to consider is donations from PACs. Those donations are not figured into the in-state vs. out-of-state equation. 

PACs, political committees that represent corporations and unions, made up 31 percent of Rep. Reichert’s total campaign fund according to the latest online data at the FEC (which doesn’t yet include the most recent fundraising reports.) PAC giving makes up only 13 percent of Burner’s haul.

PAC donations can certainly come from local interests, like Boeing ($10,000 to Reichert) and Microsoft ($3000 to Reichert), but here’s the FEC list of Reichert’s PAC donations. With everything from General Electric to Goldman Sachs to Lockheed Martin to Pfizer Inc., it is hardly dominated by local interests.  

I have a call into Reichert’s campaign to ask them to address their claim that Burner’s financial support—which is deeper at that local level than Reichert’s—isn’t local enough.  

Meanwhile, here is what Mike Shields, Reichert’s campaign manager, said on October 3, in the comments thread on the popular local conservative politics blog, Sound Politics: 

There is a bigger issue at stake in this election that local SP readers should consider if they are not yet engaged in this race: if burner wins, she will prove that even a candidate with no experience, no real connection to her community, who is to the left of the local voters, can raise enough money from national activists that they can elect someone in YOUR local district. This will embolden them to futher this model nationally. Those activists may not have succeeded in winning any policy debates, but if they start overpowering local voters with money they can begin installing members who think like them who WILL win their policy debates for them. This is the movement they are openly trying to create and they will absolutely be emoldened if burner wins. She may not seem like she is conecting here, but she’s a national netroots celebrity. You can help stop them and disprove the paradigm by helping us at reichert’s campaign:www.davereichertforcongress.com.

Note: The possibility exists that this comment wasn’t actually left by the same Mike Shields who’s running Reichert’s campaign, but if that’s true, Shields has had nearly two weeks to correct the record.

Here is Kirkdorffer’s analysis. (These numbers include local Bush fundraisers for Reichert, which may artificially inflate Reichert’s local donor numbers. Also, Burner’s number of “In-District Maxed Out” Donors, 54, should be in bold, not Reichert’s lower number of 49.) :



  1. 1

    notaboomer spews:

    wow what an awesome article. i am so inspired, i am going to http://www.darcyburner.com right now and give her another $100. and i live and vote in the 8th CD. and i am the real notaboomer. and i just got my ballot in the mail. so after the donation, i will vote for darcy burner!

  2. 2

    Michael spews:

    The righties shouldn’t complain too loudly, using national fund raising for local races is straight out of their play book.

  3. 3

    sparky spews:

    I will send her 20$ too….and the BIAW does not represent most of the voters in the state, so using their logic, we better not vote for Rossi.

  4. 4

    diamondshards spews:

    Methinks thou doth protest too much, Josh. Your whining tells me that the Seattle Times and this new Time magazine article about Darcy’s netroots support really struck a nerve. Left wing zealots like yourself know better than anybody that perception is reality in politics. Face it, no matter how you lay out your facts, voters know Darcy’s constituency is Kos readers and the Netroots Nation – NOT WA-08 voters.

  5. 5


    One correction to the table: the in district maxed out donors are incorrectly bolded. Burner’s is the higher number there and I should have made that bold, not Reichert’s number.

    BTW, I’m just one of many local supporters that donate via ActBlue.

  6. 7

    Michael spews:

    if burner wins, she will prove that even a candidate with no experience, no real connection to her community, who is to the left of the local voters, can raise enough money from national activists that they can elect someone in YOUR local district. This will embolden them to futher this model nationally. Those activists may not have succeeded in winning an

    Lee Atwater already proved it.

  7. 8

    YLB spews:

    Left wing zealots like yourself know better than anybody that perception is reality in politics.

    Listen to Limbaugh much? Lots of perception shaping there – brainwashing more like.

    Mega dittoes – NOT!

  8. 9

    Mark1 spews:

    @8 YourLiberalBullshit:

    Have you found a job and starting paying taxes yet YLB, or are you still stuck in that basement? I suggest you keep your big mouth shut, as your opinions are totally irrelevant until both of the above are completed. Next please….

  9. 10

    Michael spews:

    your opinions are totally irrelevant

    Nah, it’s the wingnuts and the trolls that are irrelevant.

  10. 11

    notaboomer spews:

    keep at it in the 8th. i got my first hate mail the other day from a fellow 8th CD voter who didn’t like the democratic literature that i left with a personal note for her democratic husband. one of her points was that she hates women pols. i love seeing the wingnuts squirm.

  11. 12

    Ekim spews:

    Notice how shrill the trolls are getting? They are loosing and they know it. They just don’t want to admit it yet.

    Just like Grumpy McSame. You notice how he got angry during the debate? I thought he was going to have a stroke before the debate was over.

    It must be hard for you trolls to admit the brass ring is just out of reach. But don’t worry. You can enroll in Republican Rehab. They’ll fix everything for you.

  12. 13

    slingshot spews:

    I just pumped Darcy a few. But hey, if those clowns elect the Reichert idiot again, after eight years of Rethuglickin’ bullshit- they deserve him.

  13. 14

    correctnotright spews:

    Mark1: Found a brain yet? Your opinions are totally irrelevant due your lack of any cogent opinions except the regurgitated and washed up republican talking points you spout off. Try having an original thought – it won’t make your brain explode (well, probably not – the exact cranial vault capacity and the frontal lobe quality is not very clear from your poorly written missives).
    On this blog, it is the quality of thought and writing that counts – unfortunately, you don’t measure up to YLB in either of those catagories. You do have a remarkable ability to spout nonsense, though.
    Do you have anything useful to say? I sure have not heard it. Do you have any facts or citations to back your trogolodite opinions – I haven’t seen anything yet. So insult YLB but the quality of your pathetic ramblings is no comparison.

  14. 15

    correctnotright spews:

    I used to just laugh at the trolls – but that have become increasingly strident with less useful or even interesting things to say. I think they are profoundly depressed. I would be depressed to if McCain-Palin was all I had going. Senile and stupid is no way to go through life – so why did they nominate a ticket with those qualities?

  15. 17

    Still work at The Stranger spews:

    C’mon, Josh, your friends at The Stranger are waiting for you to tell the story about why you were fired at the Stranger.

    Ducking the question, big boy?