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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

July 15, 2012 at 11:05 AM

UPDATE: Anti-Suzan DelBene PAC funded by mother of opponent Laura Ruderman

UPDATE 1:28 p.m.: Laura Ruderman’s mother said in an emailed statment that she funded the anti-DelBene PAC because she was “very frustrated” that DelBene could self-finance her campaign (to the tune of $1 million) while her daughter could not.

Ruderman’s campaign insists she did not know her mother had funded the PAC, Progress for Washington, when it told The Seattle Times last week that Ruderman was “just as surprised as everyone else” about the PAC.

Ruderman and Rothschild talk weekly about Rothschild’s cancer treatments, said campaign manager Liz Berry. But Rothschild’s $115,000 expendature on her daughter’s behalf did not come up, Berry insists. “She had no idea it was her mother.”

Asked if Ruderman – who has criticized newly relaxed rules on independent political spending during debates – had anything to say about the ads, Berry said, “I don’t really think she’s going to crap on her mother in the press.”

It’s worth noting that both Progress for Washington and Ruderman disclosed in FEC statements that each start TV advertising next week. Ruderman has taken swipes at DelBene’s wealth in interviews, although less sharply than the Progress for Washington mailers. How closely will those TV ads resemble each other?

Rothschild’s statement:

I love my daughter very much and I think she would make a great Congresswoman.  I also love my country and think she’s the best candidate we have to beat John Koster. As I undergo ongoing cancer treatment, I am in a place in my life where I have to make hard decisions about what is important to me.
I grew very frustrated that a candidate could self fund a campaign for Congress and knew that my daughter did not have the means to do that.  So I called Jeff Gumbinner, a consultant that I knew from previous campaigns, and asked him how I could help.  He suggested setting up Progress For Washington and talked me through each and every step of the way.  I don’t have many millions of dollars but this was an effort I could make.
I am not taking any press calls at this time.  However, I do want to make it clear that I did this out of love for my daughter and because  I think she’s the best candidate.
Thank you, Margaret Rothschild

ORIGINAL POST: A new PAC formed to kneecap Suzan DelBene in the heavily contested 1st Congressional District race appears to be funded entirely by the mother of her opponent and fellow Democrat, Laura Ruderman.

FEC filings today show Margaret Rothschild donated $115,000 to Progress for Washington in June. That group, which bought a series of mailers to attack DelBene’s  business record, was formed by a Ruderman donor and hired a former Ruderman consultant to do the mailed ads.

Ruderman campaign manager Liz Berry confirmed that Rothschild is Ruderman’s mother, but said she didn’t know that Rothschild was funding the attacks. “I’ll have to call you back,” she said.

Rothschild has been integral to Ruderman’s stump speech, which includes a personal story about several family members with cancer. Here’s a video of Rothschild on the campaign website.

Election law prohibits coordination between campaigns and independent groups, which, unlike campaigns, can accept unlimited donations. I suspect DelBene’s campaign will be pressing a complaint on this.

The attack ads, as Sen. Patty Murray suggested in a press release on Friday, also add a sleazy element to the campaign:

“The shadowy Super PAC attacks in the 1st Congressional District race represent an unfortunate, ugly, apparently Democrat vs. Democrat assault, and I hope they stop.  As Democrats, we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be pulled into a messy intra-party fight funded by anonymous interests.

“I challenge all of the Democrats in the race to engage in a healthy, vigorous exchange of ideas during this primary campaign. The election should be about who will fight for the middle class and who will be the most effective in Congress to get our economy back on track. There is no place for this type of anonymous assault against other Democratic candidates.”



Comments | More in homepage, Politics Northwest, U.S. House of Representatives | Topics: laura ruderman, Suzan DelBene


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