While Jon focused solely on the WA-03 money race, Publicola brings us the numbers from WA-08, where Republican incumbent Dave Reichert reportedly raised about $350,000 in the first quarter and is sitting on about $700,000, while Democratic challenger Suzan DelBene raised $225,000 in the quarter for $840,000 cash on hand.
But in attempting to clarify these numbers, Publicola only muddles things up:
Footnote on DelBene: She spent $160,000 this quarter and has almost $400,000 in liabilities, which means she actually has about $460,000 in cash after having raised $920,000 overall. Reichert, who’s raised about $1 million overall, has over $700,000 in cash after liabilities.
Yeah, well, not really. DelBene’s “almost $400,000 in liabilities” largely refers to a $350,000 personal loan. From a financial strength perspective, whether she pays herself back or not really isn’t an issue as long as she doesn’t pay herself back until after the election.
Reichert, although lacking the resources to self-finance, similarly benefits from loans of a sort, routinely spending his campaign hundreds of thousands of dollars into debt, which he eventually pays off with money raised for the next campaign. That’s why, while raising over $1.3 million this cycle (not the “$920,000” total Publicola reports), Reichert only has $715,000 cash on hand; most of the rest of the money went to paying off last election’s debt.
So an apple to apple comparison does indeed show that DelBene currently enjoys an $839K to $715K cash on hand advantage over the incumbent. As for fundraising strength and enthusiasm, yes, DelBene’s totals are inflated by about $534K in self-financing, but that’s roughly equivalent to Reichert’s advantage in big money contributions from PACs. Overall, Reichert has raised only slightly more in individual contributions, while DelBene enjoys more individual contributors.
In other words, it looks like Reichert is facing yet another competitive challenger, as opposed to our state delegation’s other seven incumbents, who by comparison, all currently enjoy a better than five to one money advantage over their closest opponent.