A merry Christmas for the mayor's re-election campaign: Despite an otherwise sucking economy, December brought $20,000 in new donations to the Neighbors for Nickels 2009 fund, sending the two-term mayor full-speed into the new year with $263,000 in re-election money and no opponents visible in his rear-view mirror.
Donors included a raft of the usual "Neighbors" - developers and attorneys - according to city records. Some also gave to Nickels' official office slush fund, now brimming with $64,000 that is mostly used to pay for some city-related expenses for the mayor and staff as well as gifts for visiting dignitaries.
The latest campaign contributions put Nickels' more than halfway towards the amount he raised in 2005 - $500,000 - with roughly ten months until the 2009 general election. Including the $600,000 he collected in 2001, Nickels' last campaign made him the first Seattle mayor to raise more than $1 million in two terms.
His only official opponent so far, community activist David Wolbeck, has yet to report his first dollar.