State Sen. Ed Murray led the field in fundraising for the Seattle mayor’s race in May, pulling in more than $100,000 despite being shut down for much of the month by a legislative fundraising freeze.
Murray also outspent his rivals, dropping nearly $60,000 on expenses including campaign staff salaries, posters, consulting and $30,000 for a poll.
To put that in perspective, Murray’s campaign spent more on that single poll (conducted by EMC Research of Oakland, Calif.) than the $17,000 Mayor Mike McGinn’s campaign spent during the entire month.
City Councilmember Bruce Harrell brought in the second largest cash haul in May, raising $71,000, according to the new round of monthly campaign-finance reports filed with the Seattle Ethics & Elections Commission. He was followed by McGinn at $47,000, former Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck at $36,000, and businessman Charlie Staadecker at $20,000.
Murray’s big month shows he may become a major fundraising force — if he can get free of the ongoing gridlock in the state Legislature. Due to ethics laws, state lawmakers cannot raise money while the legislature is in session. And with the first special session set to end Tuesday, it’s a good bet that a second special session will begin as soon as Wednesday.
Murray has now raised a total of $224,000 through May, nearly even with McGinn’s $228,000.
But McGinn has more cash in the bank ($126,000) than his challengers, largely because he’s been frugal with his campaign spending, reporting zero spending on campaign staff, for example.
That has led to grumbling from some rivals, as McGinn simultaneously has upped his public-relations game from the mayor’s office via a daily stream of press releases and news conferences touting city initiatives (on Monday it was a street paving project in north Seattle, Tuesday’s subject is pedestrian safety in school zones).
Corrected post to reflect total cost of Murray poll was $30,000, not $21,000 as originally reported.