Hunter Claims Cash Victory for June, But Will it Matter?

In politics there's a general rule that candidates always, regardless of circumstances, talk about their campaign as though they are winning. Which explains why today King County Executive hopeful Ross Hunter kicked out a press release announcing that he banked almost $63,000 in June, the most of any of the Democratic-leaning front-runners.

The total number of donations reported by each candidate to the Secretary of State's office is a little different than the totals listed in Hunter's press release. That's not unusual thanks to late reports. But even with the updated totals (Hunter actually received more than $65,000 in donations in June compared with $55,000 for Dow Constantine, $45,000 for Larry Phillips and $33,000 for Fred Jarrett), Hunter is still the month's big winner. That's only if you don't count Susan Hutchison, of course. She pulled in a cool $70,000.

Still, it's not really a significant victory for any of the Executive front-runners. In the realm of local elections, an extra few thousand dollars might not make much of a difference in the voting booth.

So Hunter did indeed win a small victory with just over two months to go until the August Primary. But one thing to remember here is that unlike, say, presidential elections where the biggest fundraiser is almost guaranteed to be the winner, no one in the Executive race is pulling in enough to seriously change the outcome. When you have a multi-million dollar campaign, a big lead means dozens more commercials, air time, newspaper ad space, and banners. In a local race, being $50,000 ahead might mean an additional couple of radio spots and some phone bank time.

The money matters, but it's hardly the biggest factor. King 5's last poll shows Hunter in fourth place with only 6 percent of the vote. Hutchison, the only candidate with serious name recognition, takes a whopping 41 percent with Constantine coming in second at 12 percent followed by Phillips at 7 percent. Jarrett came in last at 4 percent. Even if Hunter raises several thousand dollars more than the competition in the next two months, it's going to be very difficult for the Eastsider to overcome Constantine and Phillips' hold on Seattle and Hutchison's likely success among Republicans on his side of the lake.

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