Campaign dollars flow in Washington state

Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell has $4.6 million in the bank as she seeks to win a third term in November, while President Barack Obama has raised more than three times as much as his Republican challenger Mitt Romney in Washington state.

That’s according to new federal campaign spending reports, which show Democrats holding an overall advantage in this year’s money chase in the Evergreen State.

Cantwell, who was first elected in 2000, raised $1.2 million in the first three months of the year.

In a report filed this week with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), Cantwell, 53, said 7,000 new donors joined her campaign in the first quarter of the year. Overall, 80 percent of the contributions to her campaign in the 2012 election cycle have been $100 or less.

Cantwell has a huge lead over her Republican challenger, state Sen. Michael Baumgarter.

Baumgarter, who missed the FEC’s April 15 deadline for filing his first-quarter report, released a statement saying that he had pushed his fundraising total past $305,000 in the first three months of the year. And Baumgarter, who lives in Spokane in the eastern part of the state, noted that he has statewide appeal, with most of his donations coming from the state’s west side.

Despite the big advantage, Cantwell campaign strategist Rose Kapolczynski, who helped California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer win a fourth term in a hotly-contested race in 2010, said that the campaign needs to be ready for a rush of spending later this year by outside groups. In 2010, she said, independent committees spent more than $9 million in an attempt to defeat Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, who won a fourth term.

“What we do know is that we can’t take anything for granted in a year when Super PACS can drop millions into a race at a moment’s notice,” Kapolczynski said, adding that the donations so far ensure that “we will have the resources to communicate with voters this fall.”

So far, Washington state residents have donated $5 million to presidential candidates, the FEC reports show. Obama leads the pack, with $2.9 million. All of the Republican candidates in this year’s presidential primary raised a combined total of $2.1 million, led by Romney with $950,000.

Three House seats are up for grabs in Washington state this year.

In the newly-created 10th District, Democrat Dennis Heck said he had $934,000 in cash on hand at the end of March. His Republican challenger, Stanley Flemming reported $107,000 in the bank.

In the race to replace veteran Democratic Rep. Norm Dicks in the 6th District, Democrat Derek Kilmer led all challengers, with $346,000 in cash on hand at the end of March. He raised more than his Republican challengers combined: Jesse Young, who had $106,000 in the bank, and Doug Cloud, who had $2,900.

In the contest to replace Democratic Rep. Jay Inslee in the 1st District, Suzan DelBene led the pack of Democratic challengers, with more than $318,000 in the bank. Darcy Burner had $115,000 in cash on hand, while Laura Ruderman had $220,000 and Steve Hobbs had $99,000. Darshan Rauniyar, another Democrat, had $124,000 in the bank. Republican John Koster had $103,000 in cash on hand.

Elsewhere, in the 9th District, incumbent Democratic Rep. Adam Smith said he had $509,000 in cash on hand at the end of the first quarter. Republican challenger Richard Muri had $64,000 in the bank. And another GOP candidate, James Postma, reported cash in hand of $53,000 at the end of March.

In the 3rd District, freshman Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler said she had $689,000 in the bank at the end of March. Her Democratic opponent, Elizabeth Uelmen, had $2,700, while another Democratic challenger, Jon Haugen, had not filed a first-quarter report.

In the 2nd District, Democratic Rep. Rick Larsen had $777,000 in cash at the end of March, while his Republican challenger Dan Matthews had $2,700.

In the 4th District, Republican Rep. Doc Hastings had $528,000 in the bank at the end of the quarter, compared to zero for his Democratic challenger, Jerame Clough.

And in the 5th District, Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers had $916,000 in cash on hand, while her Democratic opponent Rich Cowan had $75,000.

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