Democratic gubernatorial candidate (and former US Rep) Jay Inslee reports that he raised more than $580,000 in March, bringing his grand total raised to $4.8 million with $2.73 million cash on hand.

Once again, the Washington State Democrats contributed big, kicking in $50,000 on the last day of the month, bringing their total contribution to more than half a million dollars.

Inslee's GOP rival, Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna, is barred from raising money while the legislature is in session; given that there've been two special sessions (including one in December), Inslee has a four-month advantage on McKenna. McKenna has raised $4 million (he was able to get some fundraising in during the weekend between the end of the regular session and the start of the special session to raise an impressive $230,000 in 72 hours.) He has $2.3 million on hand.

Frankly, especially considering the assist from the Democratic Party, Inslee's four-month advantage doesn't seem to have translated into a major lead. To the contrary, I'd say the not-so-dramatic gap makes McKenna look good. The $200,000 per-month during McKenna's absence puts Inslee off track to reach the $13.6 million that Gov. Chris Gregoire raised in 2008. (McKenna's total puts him at more than $600,000 raised per month.)

Which brings me to a little counterintuitive theory: The special session is actually a good thing for McKenna. The longer the legislature flails, the worse the the Democratic governor and her majorities in both houses look. The message to the public: Olympia is broken and needs a change. This has played right into McKenna's hands as the Republican candidate.

Sure, it prolongs his fundraising disadvantage , but as Inslee has shown, that's not much of a problem.

We're hearing the session may actually wrap up tonight. Ironically, that's not necessarily the greatest news for McKenna.
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