To be competitive in his ballsy bid against longtime incumbent U.S. representative Jim McDermott (D-WA, 7), state representative Brady Walkinshaw (D-43, Capitol Hill) will have to raise about $2 million, seasoned campaigners tell me. (By the way, seasoned campaigners also believe Walkinshaw will make a formidable run at McDermott.)
With traditional Democratic donors—like trial lawyers and union money (United Food and Commercial Workers and teachers, for example)—showing up as McDermott’s top career and recent donors, Walkinshaw, who also has a solid showing from traditional Democratic donors like unions, will have his fundraising work cut out for him now that he’s challenging the Democratic status quo. In a promising sign for Walkinshaw, he has managed to scoop up some Democratic party endorsements, including state senators Marko Liias (D-21, Mukilteo) and Cyrus Habib (D-48, Kirkland) and state representatives Jessyn Farrell (D-46, N. Seattle), Mia Gregerson (D-33, SeaTac ), Cindy Ryu (D-32, Shoreline), and Laurie Jinkins (D-27, Tacoma).
Walkinshaw raised just $186,000 in his (unopposed) 2014 campaign, relying on about 600 donations. His top donors are parks and greenspace conservationists like Martha Wyckoff and Jerry Tone. Other big Walkinshaw donors are: the BNSF Railway, Democrats for Education Reform, the trial lawyers political committee, Native American tribes, health care unions, and the teachers union.
(I’m not sure if that teachers’ union donation, $950, will convince traditional Democrats that the $1,900 Walkinshaw got from the ed reformers doesn’t make him a bad guy. Walkinshaw also got $900 from the Microsoft Corporation, and thousands of dollars from Gates Foundation employees; Walkinshaw used to work at the Gates Foundation on food issues. I have a message in to Walkinshaw to see where he is on the charter schools “fix” that some state house Democrats have said they support.)
There is very little overlap in specific donors between McDermott and Walkinshaw. Judging from their most recent respective campaigns (2014), when McDermott raised $600,000 from about 300 donations, the pair only shared four big donors: Comcast, Puget Sound Energy, Weyerhaeuser, and Wing Luke Museum trustee Ellen Ferguson.
Here are the listings of McDermott's top donors from the 2014 campaign and from his 27-year career to date.
By the way, it was funny to see that pharmaceutical company Schering-Plough is McDermott’s third all-time career donor between 1989 and 2016 at $77,000, including $74,000 from the company’s official political committee. The first news story I ever wrote in Seattle was about a McDermott bill to extend patents for drug companies like his big donor Schering-Plough to protect its market.