Special Election to Replace Inslee in Congress Cost $800,000

Washington taxpayers spent $800,000 last year to fill a seat in Congress for less than two months.

That’s what it cost for the special election triggered by Gov. Jay Inslee’s decision to quit Congress early. Here’s my story from today’s edition.

If you recall, Inslee quit to campaign full-time against Republican Rob McKenna, the state’s former attorney general. Former Gov. Chris Gregoire ordered the special election to make sure there was someone in Inslee’s vacated seat for the final weeks of his term when it was anticipated key votes would be taken on tax cuts and an online sales tax.

In a rare occurrence, that special election was conducted on the same ballot as the regularly scheduled contest for a full two-year term in Congress for the district.

Democrat Suzan DelBene of Medina defeated Republican John Koster of Arlington for the short- and full-terms. She was sworn into office Nov. 13 and thus served until her full-term began in early January.

Checks are getting written to King, Snohomish and Kitsap counties to reimburse each for their share expenses related to the primary and general elections conducted in the old boundaries of the 1st Congressional District.

The final tally of costs is $791,339.40. Of the total, King County will get $529,057.02, Snohomish County will receive $106,576.13 and Kitsap County will collect $55,706.21, according to the Secretary of State’s Office. The amounts are tied to each county’s share of registered voters in the district at the time of the contest.

The state’s total also includes $100,000 into a voter education campaign on the special election.

Jerry Cornfield is the Olympia bureau chief of the Herald in Everett. He blogs at the Petri Dish.

 
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