Public radio reporter Austin Jenkins at Olympia has pulled together a report that was bound to happen - it was on our radar too, but we hadn't gotten to it yet - since an insightful story appeared in the March Atlantic Monthly magazine ("They won't know what hit them," by Joshua Green), about a network of wealthy gay businessmen, led by Quark founder Tim Gill of Denver, who have been carefully coordinating political contributions.
Gill is described as having "decided to eschew national races in favor of state and local ones, which could be influenced in large batches and for much less money. Most antigay measures, they discovered, originate in state legislatures. Operating at that level gave them a chance to “punish the wicked,” as Gill puts it—to snuff out rising politicians who were building their careers on antigay policies, before they could achieve national influence." So he and others have been contributing to non-"glamour" campaigns, not just at the U.S. House but at the statehouse, and state legislative, levels.
Jenkins has pulled together some of that information, through campaign records reports, about the Northwest: "I headed to Washington's Public Disclosure Commission Web site and found that Gill and six other out-of-state donors contributed more than $25,000 to six, swing-district Democrats running for the Legislature. A similar picture emerges in Oregon." Those targeted in the region last year, he says, was then-state Senator Luke Esser, who was defeated for re-election last year and now chairs the Washington Republican Party.