Jack Connelly wants it real bad. The Tacoma personal-injury attorney, who has made a big part of his nut suing Washington state, has poured in almost $1 million of his own loot to become a state senator. That's right, a million smacker-roos to win a $42,000 job in Olympia. This is historic stuff. No one has ever spent so much of their own dough to win a seat in the state legislature.
Yes, you're right, Maria Cantwell cashed in about $10 million of her stock in RealNetworks to bankroll her campaign in 2000. But that bought her a place in the "world's greatest deliberative body."
And now we have Suzan DelBene, the high-rolling tech entrepreneur, who has dumped close to $2.8 million into her campaign kitty on a heads-or-tails bet that she can best GOP challenger John Koster (his self-funding total: a measly $18K) in the state's newly drawn 1st Congressional District. But again, it's Congress, for god's sake, not the state senate.
Andrew Shepherd had more than a lust for power -- and who can blame him?
Makes you scratch your head, doesn't it?
Indeed, the lust for power is one helluva an aphrodisiac, and many have fallen hard trying to capture it.
-- In 1980, ex-Texas Gov. John Connally famously spent $11 million in the Republican presidential primaries ($30 million in today's dollars), and that got him was a single delegate -- a woman named Ada Mills of Arkansas, and became known as "the $11 million delegate."
-- In 2000, Forbes magazine magnate Steve Forbes' campaign squandered $86 million and never came close to winning a single GOP primary.
-- In 2008, during her ill-fated campaign to wrest the nomination away from Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton loaned herself $13.2 million which she later wrote off.
A conservative Democrat, Jack Connelly, 56, who ran unsuccessfully for the state House in 1996, was badly beaten -- 58 to 41 percent -- in the August primary by six-term state House Rep. Jeannie Darneille.
The 27th District race in Tacoma has grown increasingly acrimonious, with Darneille -- who, by the way, has raised a quarter of what Connelly has spent out of his own pocket -- casting her opponent as having conservative values (ie: Connelly is not on board with the gay marriage referendum), while Connelly claims Darneille has been soft on crime.
A collegiate All American swimmer at Stanford, Connelly is well known for securing massive settlements on behalf of his clients. He won a $22.5 million judgment against the state on behalf of a family of a woman killed in Tacoma in a 1997 car crash, and more recently, won, as The Seattle Times reports, settlements of $5 million each for the families of two Lakewood police officers killed by Maurice Clemmons in 2009.
Asked by the Daily Weekly why he's invested so much in the contest, Connelly said, "We were told that since she (Darneille) had been around so long, we'd have to outspent her.".
Mission accomplished. His deep pockets have enabled him to finance a saturation TV ad, at least 16 mailers by his own count, robo-calls, internal tracking polls, yard signs, and a "campaign management" team of at least a dozen on the payroll.
Said Connelly: "When I do something, I like to do it as well as I can."
Connelly did not sound upbeat about his chances. "We'll find out tomorrow," he said. "It's hard to say what the effect will be by my opponents making me look way more conservative than I am."
At least they can't say Jack Connelly was conservative when it came to reaching for his wallet.