Caffeinated News

1. Trying to make sense out of the parade of candidates running in this year's (newly) districted city council elections? Yesterday, the reporting deadline for last month's fundraising, provided a little clarity—and some surprises.

• City council member Nick Licata aide Lisa Herbold went from zero to 60 (well zero to $13,000 with $10,000 cash on hand) and already leads the giant pack in West Seattle's first district after just declaring last month; though several candidates there—Brianna Thomas, Tom Koch, and Shannon Braddock—appear to be serious fundraisers as well. And they're right on Herbold's heels.

Cash on hand (and I'm subtracting any reported liabilities to get that number) is the key dollar figure, but total cash raised is important too. Herbold leads there too having raised more than $13,000 overall. Thomas has raised $10,800, Koch has raised $10,600, and Braddock has raised $9,000 as of the the latest cumulative reports. There are several other candidates (seven) in the race, but I'm only listing the top fundraisers here.

• Keeping pace with Jean Godden in the fourth district (UW to Sand Point), Transportation Choices Coalition director Rob Johnson actually has more cash on hand right now than the well-known, longtime incumbent, $16,000 to $15,000.

Overall, Godden has raised $47,600 and Johnson has raised $30,000.

• Incumbent Mike O'Brien in Ballard's sixth district has less than $1,000 cash on hand—though his opponent, neighborhood council leader Catherine Weatbrook, only raised $14 this month and is nearly $600 in the red.

Overall, O'Brien has raised just $1,125 while Weatbrook has raised jut $459.

• Other incumbents such as Bruce Harrell in Southeast Seattle's second district and at-large candidate Tim Burgess in the eighth district are loaded at $64,000 and $57,000 cash on hand respectively. And Burgess raised a whopping $43,000 last month alone.

However, Burgess's new opponent, Tenants Union director Jonathan Grant, is no fundraising slouch. He stormed out of the gate raising $18,000 this month and had $17,000 cash on hand. Another candidate in the race, Georgetown labor activist John Persak, has raised about $17,000 to date and has $11,000 cash on hand.

Overall, Harrell has raised $79,000. His opponent, food activist Tammy Morales, has raised $24,000, but only has about $2,000 cash on hand. And Burgess has raised $79,000 overall as well.

• Ed Murray's legal counsel Lorena Gonzalez, who's running at large in the ninth district, raised $21,000 after jumping in last month and has $17,000 cash on hand. Her opponent, neighborhood slow-growth activist Bill Bradburd, appears to be a formidable fundraiser himself. He raised about $20,000 last month and has $20,000 cash on hand. 

Those numbers roughly match their totals, with Bradburd officially at $21,500 raised overall.

• Socialist city council member Kshama Sawant, running in Capitol Hill's third district, had a strong fundraising month—bringing in about $16,000. She has just $4,000 cash on hand, though. Her new opponent, Urban League director Pamela Banks, just declared and hasn't reported any contributions. One of Sawant's other opponents, former Equal Rights Washington director Rod Hearne, raised another $10,000 this month. He has $11,000 cash on hand.

Sawant has raised $24,000 overall and Hearne has raised about $21,000.

• Two candidates are leading the pack in North Seattle's wide open fifth district: activist Reverend Sandy Brown has raised $35,000 overall and has $6,000 cash on hand while Port of Seattle manager Mian Rice is at $26,000 with nearly $5,000 cash on hand.

• No one is challenging seventh district candidate and current council incumbent Sally Bagshaw in the downtown-to–Queen Anne–to-Magnolia district. She has raised $43,000 overall and has $16,000 cash on hand.

If I didn't call your name, your fundraising hasn't been a distinguishing aspect of your campaign to date.

"Instead of a lifeline,
 this bill tosses them an anchor." —State senator Sharon Nelson
2. In other news, with five Democrats on board, the Republican-controlled state senate passed a payday lending bill yesterday that allows longer payback terms, but can increase total payments. (Here's my recent coverage of the bill, including liberal Washington state attorney general Bob Ferguson's letter to legislators criticizing the bill for its new risky terms.)

Progressives shouldn't expect the Democratic house to reject the bill. With several Democrats on board, including Seattle representatives Eric Pettigrew (D-37, Southeast Seattle) and Sharon Tomiko Santos (D-37, Southeast Seattle), a house version sailed through committee.

Senate minority leader Sharon Nelson (D-34, West Seattle), who sponsored and passed landmark legislation in 2009 regulating payday loans, issued a statement after yesterday's vote:

“Short-term loans can help some people, but this bill erodes critical regulations and tips the scale completely in favor of lenders. Lenders and their profit margins are the only winners here. That is why they push for deregulation. People seeking out payday loans are already in dire financial straits. Instead of a lifeline, this bill tosses them an anchor.”

In a more of a zinger, though, state senator Cyrus Habib (D-48, Kirkland) said during yesterday's floor debate: "I must be going blind because I haven't seen a single person come to Olympia and say they need more access to payday loans." Habib is literally blind.

The five Democrats who broke ranks and voted for the bill were senators Brian Hatfield (D-19, Raymond) Steve Hobbs (D-44, Lake Stevens), Marko Liias (D-21, Mukilteo), Karen Keiser (D-33, Kent), and Kevin Ranker (D-40, Orcas Island).

 

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