A late-money surge is hitting Seattle’s mayoral race, with a business-funded group backing Jenny Durkan and Cary Moon tapping more personal wealth.
The stakes in the Seattle mayoral race just grew by $590,000.
A business group backed by Amazon and other big employers has splashed an additional $525,000 on a pro-Jenny Durkan push, while Cary Moon has dropped $65,000 more of her own money into her campaign, according to Tuesday filings with the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission.
Moon slammed the business spending behind Durkan during a news conference at a Rainier Valley deli and bakery, saying large corporations are making the city feel more like an office park.
2017 Seattle mayoral race
- Jenny Durkan defeats Cary Moon to become Seattle’s first woman mayor since the 1920s
- Seattle's next mayor, Jenny Durkan, names full transition team, deputy mayors
- Seattle’s millionaire mayoral candidates say they know what it’s like to struggle
- Beyond tent-camp ‘sweeps,’ big questions await next Seattle mayor
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- Cary Moon: Urbanist, waterfront activist touts vision for city, faces questions about résumé, accomplishments
- Jenny Durkan: Former U.S. attorney brings experience, high-powered allies, but also draws scrutiny
- Seattle’s first — and only — female mayor was elected in 1926
And Durkan seized on Moon’s personal spending in an email to supporters.
“We have five times the number of donors that our opponent’s campaign has. But we need even more if we’re going to have a chance to compete with our opponents big checks,” the email said.
Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy (CASE) — the political arm of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce — made contributions of $475,000 and $50,000 on Monday to People for Jenny Durkan, an independent-expenditure committee.
Such committees can take unlimited donations and spend unlimited amounts to support a candidate, so long as they don’t coordinate with the candidate’s campaign.
People for Jenny Durkan also received big contributions from some labor groups this past week — $60,000 from SEIU 775, which represents nursing- home and home health-care workers, and $50,000 from Seattle’s firefighters union.
The committee spent about $118,000 ahead of the Aug. 1 primary election, directing most of that money toward online-news and Facebook advertisements.
The infusion reported Tuesday means the committee is poised to spend much more in the weeks before the Nov. 7 election. Mostly thanks to the chamber arm’s contributions, People for Jenny Durkan now has nearly $729,000 in cash on hand.
If all that money gets spent, the spending would dwarf all independent spending in the 2013 mayoral race between Ed Murray and Mike McGinn. In that race, two pro-Murray committees spent about $230,000, while a pro-McGinn committee spent about $97,000.
So, where is the chamber’s political arm, which endorsed Durkan earlier this year after interviewing both candidates, getting the money to back the former U.S. attorney?
Companies donating at least $10,000 to CASE include Amazon, Vulcan, Comcast, the Washington Association of Realtors, CenturyLink, AT&T, Expedia, Starbucks, Alaska Airlines and Boeing.
Amazon stands out, adding $100,000 on Oct. 12 to the $250,000 it gave in July.
Moon’s campaign Tuesday said some companies involved have opposed taxing the incomes of high-earning households, hiking minimum wages and public broadband.
“If big corporate interests want to fund a no-limit campaign for my opponent, they should do so with full transparency and accountability to the voters, and stop using our regional chamber of commerce as a smoke screen,” said Moon, a former urban designer known for battling Seattle’s waterfront tunnel project.
Meanwhile, Moon has tapped her own personal wealth, giving $30,000 to her own campaign on Oct. 11 and $35,000 on Monday. That boosted her personal spending in the race to more than $176,000 — more than half what her campaign has raised.
Moon has said she received an inheritance of more than $1 million a few years ago.
Before her latest donation, Moon’s campaign had raised about $278,000 from 717 contributors, with an average donation of $191.
Durkan’s campaign has raised about $822,000 from 3,472 contributors, with an average donation of $237.
Durkan campaign spokesperson Stephanie Formas boasted the campaign “has more individual contributors than any candidate who has run in Seattle because people across the Seattle are looking for a progressive leader who can get things done.”
Ballots for the Nov. 7 election are expected to be mailed this week.