With less than thee weeks to go 'til Election Day, three of the four candidates in the most hotly contested city council races are in the hole, according to reports filed last night that track fundraising and spending up to Oct. 9. Venus Velázquez has a negative $43,384. Her opponent, Bruce Harrell is in the red $16,512. Tim Burgess' account is at minus $115,442, but his opponent, incumbent David Della still has $58,048 after his liabilities are deducted.
The candidates' biggest expenses are for mailers and consultants. That is, except for Burgess, who's spent about $30,000 on radio spots.
But there's still a lot of cash out there to be spent. Business PAC Forward Seattle and the Seattle Firefighters Union each have more than 100,000 in the bank, which will presumably go to Velázquez and Burgess respectively in the next week or two in the form of radio and/or T.V. ads and/or printed material. And there's another PAC, Qwest Washington that's quietly raised more than $125,000 and has $118,412 in the bank. The Qwest PAC has donated $500 to Harrell thus far. Probably a good bet, since he was an attorney for the company in the past, that Qwest will be throwing some healthy independent expenditure money his way.
One thing's for sure, the home stretch this year belongs to the Political Action Committees who will largely foot the bill to get their candidates elected unless the contestants loan themselves some serious cash or manage to pull a fundraising miracle.
Update: Burgess has already loaned himself $44,300; Harrell has loaned himself $8,000; Della ditto for $5,700. (Prior to the 21st day before an election a candidate can contribute and much as he or she wants to his or her campaign. After the cut-off date candidates can only loan themselves $5,000. And no matter how much a candidate loans themselves, city law says they can only be repaid a total of $8,600-- $4,300 for the primary, $4,300 for the general.)