Candidates Burn Through Campaign Cash Early

By Erica C. Barnett August 6, 2009

[caption id="attachment_11150" align="alignleft" width="368" caption="Israel's latest"]Israel's latest [/caption]

Most of the major candidates for Seattle Mayor and City Council—that is, the candidates with money to spend—have already bombarded voters with mail, in many times multiple pieces.

So far,the  candidates who have sent out mailings include: Position 4 candidate David Bloom, Position 4 candidate Sally Bagshaw, Position 6 candidate Jessie Israel, Position 6 incumbent Nick Licata, Position 8 candidate Bobby Forch (twice), Position 8 candidate Robert Rosencrantz (twice), Position 8 candidate Mike O'Brien (three times), and Position 8 candidate Jordan Royer ... plus school board candidates Wilson Chin, Charlie Mas, and Betty Patu.

Most of those mailers are already on their way to a recycling plant.

Why does this matter? Stay with me here.

So far, just 14,000 people have returned their ballots in this off-year, all-mail election—a whopping 3.94 percent of Seattle's registered voters. The county estimates turnout of around 35 percent. In other words, most of the people who are going to vote haven't voted yet.

That means that the candidates who've already sent out mailers have essentially wasted their cash—in some cases, all of their cash.

A few examples. According to reports filed at the end of July:

• Israel has spent more than $24,000 on mailings and has just over $11,000 on hand.

• O'Brien spent about $19,000 on mailings and has just over $13,000 on hand.

• Rosencrantz has spent almost $57,000 on mail and has negative $9,800 (!!) on hand.

Meanwhile, Forch has definitely done mailings, but they're not showing up on his reports yet.

Of the remaining candidates, Bagshaw and Bloom in Position 4, Licata and Martin Kaplan in Position 6,  and Royer and David Miller in Position 8 are the only candidates that definitely have enough money to do another mailing before the primary. So for the remaining two weeks before the primary, those candidates are going to have a major advantage over the ones who've already sent out mail—who'll be at risk of going silent at the exact time people are actually voting.
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