Rob McKenna Crows About War Chest, But Rival Jay Inslee Is Similarly Loaded

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Rob McKenna announced yesterday that he has raised more than $1 million in the two months since he declared his intention to run for governor. The Republican attorney general is a viable candidate, no doubt about it. And, as Democrats like to note, he's fond of press releases. One thing this one neglected to mention is that McKenna's Democratic rival, Rep. Jay Inslee, has also raised more than $1 million. The Congressman's war chest, however, is a more complicated affair.

A flap arose late last month when the Associated Press reported that Inslee planned to funnel donations from previous Congressional campaigns into his pot for governor. What's more, the state Public Disclosure Commission told the congressman that those rollover funds could be dumped into his war chest as a block, without identifying individual donors, and that the monies would not count toward campaign finance limits. Inslee could go back and hit up the donors another time, even if their previous contributions were the maximum allowed under state law.

The McKenna campaign cried foul, although it never approached the PDC, according to commission spokesperson Lori Anderson. But the commission had second thoughts. On July 29, Anderson says, "We went back to [the Inslee campaign] and said this is the deal:" Inslee would have to show individual contributors, and finance limits would apply.

McKenna campaign spokesperson Andy Faber declares himself satisfied, although he snipes at the Inslee campaign for taking its time in identifying the donors of the $190,000 that was rolled over.

Faber also notes that the state Democratic party made a $200,000 donation to Inslee's campaign on July 30, an infusion of cash that Faber speculates was meant to put Inslee over the million-dollar mark in this reporting period. (See the PDC's reports.)

State Democratic party spokesperson Reesa Kossoff doesn't deny it, and she happily notes that "Jay has pulled ahead on all [fund-raising] fronts." (Inslee has roughly $1,114,000; McKenna $1,008,000.)

Clearly, the Dems are doing whatever they can to fend off the Republicans' strongest gubernatorial contender in maybe 30 years (which is how long the GOP has been locked out of the governor's mansion). They've donated money, they've put up an attack website, and they've run anti-McKenna newspaper ads.

Today, they plan to pull in more cash as former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland comes to town for an Inslee fund-raising luncheon at the convention center.

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