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The money spread

There’s nothing especially startling in the Seattle Times piece today on fundraising in the governor’s race. Snark at Sound Politics on this is duly noted on “the stunning story that persons and organizations with issues before state government are donating to an incumbent Governor after spreading their money around when the seat was open four years ago. Campaign hands across the state are floored.”

From one Sound Politics comment: “That just goes to show how business-owners look out for their bottom line. Business is not like a labor union that will blindly go with the Democrat…Businesses support those who support them.”

The point is still well worth noting, though, as a piece of the mosaic that goes into how relatively competitive the campaigns are. In 2004, running for an open seat, both campaigns spent in the neighborhood of $6.3 million. This time, as of the most recent reports, incumbent Democrat Chris Gregoire has raised nearly $3.6 million and Rossi somewhat under a half million; and the article notes that about $160,000 of the governor’s money has come from people who donated to Rossi last time.

This picture will adjust, of course. Rossi has not been formally in the race, and has not been fundraising, for very long, and his totals should rise quickly over the next few months. Both candidates likely will shoot well past their 2004 totals; this race is not likely to be decided on the basis of money. (The last one wasn’t.)

But it is a concrete indicator that the dynamic changes when you go from an open seat to an incumbent-challenger contest.

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