Quick, who's running for King County Assessor? Lessee. There's a Port guy, a salesman, and a teacher, maybe? Actually, there are five contenders, with perhaps three of them worthy front-runners - onetime Seattle city treasurer and now Port commissioner Lloyd Hara who has name familiarity, ex-deputy assessor and now real estate investor Bob Rosenberger, and Graham Albertini, an appraiser and college instructor. The winner gets to decide what your home is worth and how big your tax burden will be. But this isn't exactly the sexiest election of 2009. Among Rosenberger's promises are cuts in staff, expenses and his own salary if elected. Hara would improve customer service and conduct performance audits. Albertini vows to be prudent and professional. He and Rosenberger get the top Municipal League ratings.
Yada Yada. Important stuff, but is there a tabloid headline anywhere? Yes! Rosenberger, it now turns out, has contributed nearly $100,000 of his own money to his campaign. That's about 95 percent of his funding, says Hara, who was quick to pounce: "Rosenberger Attempts to Buy Assessor's Office" was his e-mail headline last week. Rosenberger's most recent contribution, $58,000, alone amounts to more than was spent on King County Assessor campaigns by all candidates combined in the past two elections, claims Hara. (Rosenberger hasn't yet responded). OK, it pales a bit next to Joe Mallahan's $230,000 self-contribution in the mayor's race, but it's a start. And Albertini, for one, hopes his two major opponents continue to mix it up. "Momentum in this race," he says, in case you hadn't noticed, "is definitely swinging my way."