Politics on the cheap

I guess value can be rather subjective, but if Mike McGinn’s recent mayoral campaign is any indication, it looks like Seattle may have snagged itself a deal that would put any Black Friday shopper to shame.

McGinn spent only $224,241 to win 105,492 votes in this year’s general election, about $2.13 per vote. Compare that to New York’s Michael Bloomberg — the only mayoral candidate in the nation to receive more votes than McGinn — who spent at least $102 million of his own money to win 557,059 votes, an astounding $183.10 per vote.

Such a bargain.


  1. 1

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Why would anyone spend $100 million to get a job paying $200,000 a year? It takes a big ego. Bloomberg proves what I’ve said all along: Politics is a hobby for the rich. Joe and Jane Citizen need not apply.

  2. 2

    Michael spews:


    I’m sure that by steering public policies in NY Bloomberg stands to gain far more than his 200K salary.

  3. 4

    hey youse guys spews:

    or it could be that being mayor of NYC is about 100x more valuable than being mayor of Seattle.

    Let’s see it’s got more than ten times more people right off the bat. So that’s a factor of ten. So adjusting for that, you would only need to conclude that being mayor of NYC is ten times more fun/prestigious/challenging/interesting than being mayor of seattle.

    it’s the same issue when people say houses in detroit are cheap, no? they cost $9,000. but they are in detroit. there’s two sides to the ledger here.

    Soma youse guys know the price of everything and the value of nuttin’, is what I’m sayin’.

  4. 5

    slingshot spews:

    Don’t forget, Bloomberg gets first row World Series tickets for free. There’s yer payoff, right there.

  5. 6

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @4 A $9,000 house in Detroit might be a good deal for a retired couple of limited means if they have a camp stove, generator, and know how to use guns.

  6. 7

    2cents spews:

    It is a ridiculous comparison Jan Drago and Mike McGinn both spent about the same amount for their bids for mayor. Joe Mallahan and Greg Nickels both spent over a half million each for their bids.

    Michael Bloomberg had to run against his own promise to only run for two terms. His next nearest competitor William C. Thompson Jr. only spent $6 million dollars.

    Michael Bloomberg has grossly distorted the election finances. Unfortunately his campaign is more likely the future of election finances and Mike McGinn’s campaign is an aberration.

    David Irons almost outspent him running for King County Elections Director.

  7. 8

    2cents spews:

    The other reality is Mike McGinn is already a long shot for 2013. Greg Nickels scared the crap out all his competitors. Not surprisingly the race lacked any heavyweights. Next time the mayoral race will be a multimillion battle. Most likely Tim Burgess, Ed McMurray, Peter Steinbrueck and maybe Richard Conlin.

    Mike McGinn won’t be able to repeat his mostly volunteer campaign. He’ll have to play the same campaign fundraising game as everyone else.

  8. 9

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I’ll Bet These Crooks Are Republicans

    Speaking of politics on the cheap, Tareq and Michaele Salahi, the Virginia couple who were uninvited guests at a White House state dinner, are not only world-class gate-crashers but also world-class deadbeats. They’ve been sued at least 15 times and owe outstanding judgments on which they haven’t paid a penny. According to Wikipedia, Michaele’s claims to have been a Washington Redskins cheerleader and a model for Victoria’s Secret have been denied by those organizations, and “the Salahis … have been involved in numerous controversies over the years including allegedly running a bogus charity, numerous fights with their neighbors, a bitter and protracted legal battle for control of the [Salahi] family winery, and allegedly failing to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in bills ….” Oh, and one more thing — the guest list at their wedding reception included numerous Republicans with Reagan administration ties. The White House episode was a staged publicity stunt, complete with a camera crew hired by the Salahis, done for money. Michaela is trying to land a TV gig. How the hell did they get past the Secret Service security? Someone should get fired over this.

  9. 10

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I’ll bet someone on the security detail with Republican leanings was in on it, and connived to get them in. This smells like a Rove-playbook stunt.

  10. 11

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @8 “He’ll have to play the same campaign fundraising game as everyone else.”

    He’ll do so as in incumbent running against a divided opposition.

  11. 12

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Have you ever met an honest Republican? There hasn’t been one since Dan Evans, and he’d run as a Democrat today.

  12. 14

    Michael spews:


    I’m not retired and I don’t have a generator, but I do have a camp-stove, simple needs and I know how to shoot! Hmm…

    With the way things are going right now anything you can do to lower your fixed expenses is a good thing. Sure, you might not be able to be hip and cool anymore, but keeping a roof over your head and food in your stomach is more important than living near “culture.”

  13. 15

    Michael spews:


    Michael Bloomberg has grossly distorted the election finances. Unfortunately his campaign is more likely the future of election finances and Mike McGinn’s campaign is an aberration.

    The aberration is having millions of dollars to blow on something like a mayoral campaign. There isn’t going to be much of that kind of cash around for the next decade or so.

  14. 16

    2cents spews:

    Altogether about $1.7 million was spent on the City of Seattle mayor race. If the Supreme Court uncorks the contribution limits on corporations, the corporations will all spend like drunken sailors.

  15. 17

    ArtFart spews:

    @9, @10 I have no idea what the turnover rate is in the Secret Service in general, to say nothing of the Presidential security detail…but presumably those men and women “serve at the pleasure of the President”, just like US attorneys. The apparently enthusiastic participation by the SS in maintaining the insular bubble around Bush and keeping any trace of dissent away from his awareness and the eyes and ears of the press would seem to suggest that there was some sort of “ideological adjustment” going on. If that were the case, and if these two really do have right-wing connections, the oh-so-convenient way in which they were allowed to slip through the cracks might be taken as something of a warning shot across the bow of the Good Ship Obama.

  16. 18

    ArtFart spews:

    @12 I really can’t find anything to object to about Sam Reed. I don’t know exactly how he manages to stay a professed Republican and sleep at night.

    For that matter, Bloomberg is actually fairly “old-school”–a fiscal conservative but pretty far to the left on social issues. So, there may be some of those folks around, but they sure don’t seem to have much influence on their party’s direction.

  17. 19

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @17 At this point in time, the Salahis are trying to sell interview rights to a TV network for $500,000, and President Obama should be reviewing the personnel folders of his security detail.

    Oh, and btw, you bet your butt the Salahis have Republican connections. The guest list to their 2003 wedding was top heavy with GOP politicos.

    This stunt doesn’t seem to have been devised to embarrass the president, though. It appears to be motivated by old-fashioned monetary greed, just like the “Balloon Boy” episode in Colorado. How very Republican of them.

  18. 20


    ArtFart @ 18

    How do you feel about voting via the Internet?

    Reed’s all for it. No doubt he’ll be asking for money again this leg session, to prove all those experts wrong.

  19. 21

    Puddybud Remembers Progressives Forget spews:

    Roger Dumb Bunny,

    Since you brought up rich peeps in politics, Puddy expected you to blame that on Republicans like many of your other worthless screeds. What happened? Did Mrs Dumb Bunny use the frying pan side your head and knock some sense into you over the weekend?

    4 of the top five richest peeps in Congress are Democratics.

  20. 22

    Puddybud Remembers Progressives Forget spews:

    Michael Bloomberg has grossly distorted the election finances.

    And you don’t think Dummocraptic Jon Corzone ex-CEO of Goldman Sucks didn’t do the same in New Jersey? When he ran for Senator from NJ, he spent over $62 million of his own money on his campaign. When he ran for Governor the first time he spent $38 million of his own money. In 2009 he spend $22.6 million more of his own money and lost.

    It also didn’t help Corzine in July 2009 when a major corruption probe resulted in 44 arrests of New Jersey finest politicians. BTW, 43 were Democratics.

  21. 23

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    Bloomberg spent less than 1% of his net wealth for the mayoral campaign…chump change to somebody allegedly worth $17Billion.

    The true meaning to be derived from this ‘crime’ lies elsewhere.

  22. 24

    Michael spews:


    More of the Dem’s are early adopters, newer/next economy folks, so at this point the Dem’s have more money. With the way the old economy is cratering, look for this trend to continue and expand.

    The Republican’s traditional “Liberals can’t run businesses” screed is DOA.

  23. 25


    Michael @ 24

    One of mentors made the distinction between wealth creation and wealth transfer. Instead of focusing on sales (revenue), he created value for his customers. Sales took care of themselves. Smart guy; he’s done pretty well.

    It seems to me the economic winners will be the ones creating new things and services.

    As opposed to the free riders (parasites) who use financial instruments, lax regulation, and cronyism to take, take, take.

  24. 26

    rhp6033 spews:

    Re: the Sahalis, infamous White House gate-crashers.

    I can imagine circumstances where someone gets into the White House even if they are not on the list. It does involve some degree of negligence on the part of the Secret Service, if not their complicity. I’m not going to list the different ways, because I don’t want to give anybody any ideas.

    But the one thing that keeps me wondering is whether they stayed for the actual dinner. I wonder, because State Dinners are elaborately planned events, where a lot of attention is given to who sits where (and who is sitting near them), and name cards identify each person’s place at the table(s). After all, you dont want an international incident when two “enemies for life” from the middle east happen to sit beside each other, do you?

    So when the before-dinner cocktails and appetizers are finished, and it comes time to sit at the table, where do they sit? It’s not like they can count on somebody being a “no-show”, and just sit in an empty chair.

  25. 27

    rhp6033 spews:

    By the way, Jon Meacham thinks Dick Cheney should run for President:

    “But I think we should be taking the possibility of a Dick Cheney bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 more seriously, for a run would be good for the Republicans and good for the country. (The sound you just heard in the background was liberal readers spitting out their lattes.)

    Why? Because Cheney is a man of conviction, has a record on which he can be judged, and whatever the result, there could be no ambiguity about the will of the people….”

    Well, the 2008 elections pretty much gave an un-ambiguous verdict on the will of the people, it’s just that the Republicans refuse to accept that defeat.

    But since this is Christmastime, all I can really think of is that Dick Cheney getting the Republican nomination, however unlikely, would be THE BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT EVER for the Democrats.

  26. 29

    Chris Stefan spews:

    Cheney? Wow, that’s even funnier than Palin running in 2012. I’ve also heard Newt’s name tossed around.

    If the “base” really thinks people like that are their best shot, I’m going to make popcorn and watch the show.

    BTW one potential problem with Cheney is while he is an arch conservative in most areas he isn’t exactly a holy roller and may be a bit unacceptably liberal on some social issues.