Massive Cash for Bruce Harrell Has Entered the Seattle Mayoral Race – Slog

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The game is in progress. Lester Black

Many representatives of the Seattle Mayoral Campaign have praised the city’s unique funding program for public campaigns to limit the influence of large donors and to create time and space for candidates to delve into the issues. That dynamic will soon change, however, as an independent edition in support of former Seattle City Council President Bruce Harrell has been formally filed with the city’s electoral commission.

Campaigns participating in the city’s Democracy Voucher Program face fixed caps on fundraising and spending, but fundraising groups known as Independent Spendings (IEs), or PACs, can raise and spend as much as they support candidates or want to decline as long as they do not coordinate with these candidates. Once the PAC and campaign fundraising in a particular race exceeds the voucher program spending limit, other candidates in those races may ask the electoral committee to raise the limit for that race. Once that happens, the rush to cold, hard money opens up to everyone; Big donors are starting to take center stage and the voice of the everyday Seatteachers is waning. It happened at the 2019 city council races and now at the 2021 mayor competitions.

If campaigns in the race don’t attract big bucks – either from corporate groups or from unions – they can denounce PACs who stand up to support them. A spokesman for Bruce Harrell didn’t exactly do that. “Bruce is grateful for the overwhelming support he has received from community members across the city, especially in the various Black and AAPI communities in Seattle who are looking for a mayor who will unite Seattle and make real progress on the challenges, that we face. “

Several officials direct “Bruce Harrell for the Future of Seattle,” including three people listed on Harrell’s memo page: Sorrento hotel owner and Capitol Hill developer Mike Malone; Downtown Seattle Association board member and entrepreneur, Rita Brogan; and Nate Miles, vice president of strategic initiatives at Eli Lilly, a pharmaceutical company that is, of course, a member of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. Other senior executives include real estate investor Brett Frank-Looney, former Microsoft senior finance and marketing director Reggie Brown, central Seattle real estate manager Dana Frank, commercial broker Chris Moe, and Diversity Recruiters founder and managing partner Tony Wright . Diversity Recruiters is also a member of the Chamber. Most of these officers are black or AAPI.

As I mentioned earlier today, a handful of mayoral candidates assumed a PAC would step in and blow the cap. They just didn’t know if it was going to be big business or a union. And, to be clear, the integrity of the cap remains complete. The Pro-Harrell PAC has not raised any money, let alone spent any money. So there is still time for another PAC to cross the upper limit first. Bruce Harrell’s appearance for the future of Seattle simply marks the moment when expectation and reality have finally aligned in the mayor’s race, as the other campaigns are quick to notice.

“We’re not surprised by this news – honestly we’ve been waiting for it. It’s clear that small-dollar donation support for our campaign and the Democracy Voucher program are seen as a threat,” said a campaign spokesman for Andrew Grant Houston.

“It is also difficult to ignore the names on this registration – millionaires, investors, lobbyists and developers. These are not representatives of the city we are nor the city we should be,” added the spokesman.

As for the other mayoral candidates, a spokesman for Seattle Club chief Colleen Echohawk said, “We saw outside groups trying to put their thumbs on the scales two years ago. Seattle voters opposed this harshness. We expect that voters will do this again. ” “”

A campaign spokesman for former MP Jessyn Farrell agreed. “This isn’t really a new independent edition to sway the race. This is the same old game where special corporate interests find a way to support their handpicked candidate,” said a spokesman, adding, “Bruce was a great one Companies.” It is unfortunate that powerful special interests are trying to undermine the public funding of our elections in Seattle. We believe voters are smart enough to recognize these efforts to buy our elections, and no amount of money can cover up the consequences of years of failed leadership by Bruce and others at City Hall. “

In a statement, Seattle Council President Lorena Gonzalez said: “Company-funded PACs are the reason Seattle is having a homeless and affordable housing crisis. Therefore, economic inequality continues to worsen. I spent my legislative career eliminating the influence of corporate and foreign company funds in our elections through the passage of the Clean Campaigns Act. My campaign is worker-funded because that’s what I’ll fight for as the next mayor of Seattle. “

Nathalie Graham contributed to the coverage, but she did not write anything. So if I did something wrong then yell at me.