The secret money race for King County Executive

As reported yesterday on Publicola, Susan Hutchison has substantially trailed Dow Constantine in the all important money race since the August primary. But Constantine supporters should not grow complacent, nor Hutchison fans too discouraged, because as I reported several weeks back, GOP stalwart John Stanton had been quietly promising to wage a million dollar “independent” expenditure campaign on Hutchison’s behalf.

Hutchison’s inability to keep up with her earlier fundraising pace stems mostly from the fact that the bulk of her money came in the form of double-max donations; she simply can’t legally tap much of her ultra-wealthy base a second time. But there’s no limit to how much one can give to “independent” expenditure campaigns, and that’s the beauty of Stanton’s alleged efforts.

We’ll have no idea how much Stanton and his Republican cohorts really raise until the money is spent, but considering what’s at stake in this race, especially for powerful developers seeking to crawl out from underneath our growth management statutes, a million dollars seems like a small price to pay.


  1. 1

    notaboomer spews:

    so awesome that king county council enacted public campaign finance law that the legislature permitted it to do.

  2. 2

    Daddy Love spews:

    Cost of a King County Executive campaign: millions

    OWNING an otherwise clueless King County Executive after the election: priceless

  3. 3

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    The fact a rich guy is willing to spend a million bucks to buy this office for a hard-right wingnut is all the proof anyone should need that Hutch, if anointed, will serve special interests and not the public interest.

  4. 4

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    The way these “investments” work is they spend a million to get back a hundred million. And guess who the money ultimately comes from? The only place it can: You and me.

    Stanton’s million dollars isn’t a gift. Guys like him didn’t get rich, and don’t stay rich, by giving money away. This expenditure is designed to make money — lots of money. And if that money doesn’t come from Stanton and his rich pals — and it won’t — that leaves the rest of us as the sole source.

  5. 5

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Voting for Susan Hutchison is like giving a general power of attorney to some guy in Nigeria you met on the internet.

  6. 6

    Magnoliman spews:

    This is the second time you’ve written about this yet you’ve given no evidence. Where are you hearing about this? What lends these rumors credibility? Or is it just a way to get the media to ask her questions that she can’t legally have the knowledge to answer?

  7. 7


    Magnoliman @6,

    My information comes from “reliable sources”… the same kind of reliable sources journalists rely on all the time. I know the context in which they came by their information, but I of course can’t reveal it without compromising them. That’s they these things work.

    Now, whether Stanton and/or others follow through on their plans remains to be seen. All I know is that this is what they were talking about earlier this summer.

  8. 8

    Blackwater spews:

    I would agree with you that the development community likely favors Hutch over Dow but not for the precise reason you articulated. By and large developers got exactly what they wanted from Ron Sims, they are hardly “crawling out from under GMA” but rather seeking to perpetuate the maximum density approach favored by Sims. Rural wing nuts got screwed by the CAO but suburban homebuilders actually faired quite well and rewarded Sims with lavish financial support.

  9. 9

    headless lucy spews:

    If a perpetual growth-economy is our national goal, we’ll be subdividing the Grand Canyon in 20 years.

  10. 10

    Right Stuff spews:

    “Reliable sources” tell me the PDC is investigating the Dow campaign. Illegal contributions..

    Cmon Goldstein, If it were Hutchison you’d have already convicted her..

  11. 11

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @9 I don’t believe that’s true. We can have a growing economy and preserve our environmental values by regulating land usages. On the other hand, if we have perpetual population growth, then we may be subdividing not only the Grand Canyon but also the airspace over it and the bedrock under it …

  12. 12

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @10 So if Joe Blow gives $5 to Constantine and somebody doesn’t fill out the disclosure form properly that’s a big issue, but if Stanton gives $1 million to Hutchison that’s no issue? What we need is a law that limits everyone to contributing $50. Unfortunately, such laws are deemed a violation of free speech and therefore unconstitutional. The system in American politics now is that when a dozen people can pay for more free speech than a hundred thousand people can, the dozen get to tell the hundred thousand what to do.

  13. 13


    Stuff @10,

    Did I imply anybody was doing anything illegal? No. I simply implied that the money race between the candidates represents only a fraction of the money that will be spent in this race, so it doesn’t tell the whole story. It is an end-run around our campaign finance limits to give large sums to an “independent” expenditure campaign, but legal nonetheless. And I expect labor to spend on behalf of Dow as well.

  14. 14

    drool spews:

    #8 Blackwater has it correct. The builders got off easy. They have all the engineering resources, and can make swaps with the county. I on the other hand am just an owner of 4.5 acres which the county keeps under wraps so the builders can keep building thus generating property tax revenue. My place (under the old zoning laws..pre CAO) wouldn’t generate any tax dollars so why not put the clamps on me clearing land rather than a developer who will put lots of houses on theirs. I am not a wingnut by the way.

  15. 15

    The Duke spews:

    Labor is already dumping money into the race. Over 80k to date to support Dow, and oppose Susan (gleened from the PDC). The real story in this race won’t be the “secret” money individuals spend, but the millions that labor goons will dump into this race; money taken from the working people of this state without their consent! We need a right to work law NOW!!

  16. 16

    mark spews:

    4 You mean like George Soros with his 800 million investment in Brazilian Oil and Obama giving “Brazil” 2 billion to help develop said resources. Or how about Mack McClarty and Robert Johnsons Chrysler dealership “monopoly” now that Rattner closed all the Republican donor competition. That kind of investment?

  17. 18

    Puddybud is shocked SHOCKED spews:

    The Duke,

    Puddy wonders how much of the WEA union dues will be inserted into Dow’s coffers?

  18. 19

    delbert spews:

    You silly bitches. I see your gums flapping, but all that comes out is blah, blah, blah.

    Ron Sims was owned by the developers that put up Redmond Ridge, et al. He faked a traffic study for them and used taxpayer money to fight the whistleblowers.

    Fair PAC has already spent money by the truckload campaigning against Hutchison in the primary. Their donors? Planned Parenthood and the labor unions. Independent expenditures are just that. You want to cut out 3rd parties from the process – go ahead, but that sword cuts both ways.

  19. 20

    fallout spews:

    This posting is based entirely on a “rumor” that David Goldstein allegedly “heard.” So if David told this “rumor” to himself–guess what–technically he’d have “heard” it.

    Ask yourself, what credibility does David Goldstein have as a real journalist? He’s self-admittedly a foul-mouth partisan hack. David–pray tell how you tested the accuracy of this information? What was your “sources” motivation for providing this information (assuming it wasn’t you who made it up)?

    Without further explanation, this just seems like a hokey gimmick to get liberal/progressive donors to open up their pocketbooks for Chairman Dow–just hang that “wealthy Eastside developer” bogeyman out there, and see what shakes.