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Opinion: Following the money creates informed voters
According to the Pew Research Center, voters are more polarized along partisan lines than they have been at any point in the past 25 years. The deciding factor in this year’s election will be if independent voters are adequately informed about the policies and backgrounds of candidates they’re asked to vote for. Possibly the most effective way to understand who exactly these candidates are and what they stand for is to determine who is supporting them financially.
So, while all eyes are on the race for Governor between Republican Rob McKenna and Democrat Jay Inslee, the Business Institute of Washington pays close attention to the dollars going into the races for state Legislature.
The Business Institute of Washington is an educational resource dedicated to providing political data and connecting the dots concerning public policy in Washington state. Campaign fundraising
analysis is conducted year-round to track political dollars donated to candidates. This information sheds light on the individuals and interest groups that are major players behind each candidate’s campaign in Washington’s political landscape. The nature of the donors contributing to each candidate speaks loudly to their political priorities and focus if elected.
In our district’s state Senate race, Republican Brad Toft has raised more than $72,000, with individual contributions from both inside and outside of the district; the largest donation coming from the Republican Party. Democrat Mark Mullet has raised almost $95,000, half of which was contributed by Mullet himself.
In the race for House Seat 2, nearly half of Republican Chad Magendanz’s $50,000 in campaign funds have come from individuals within the district, showing voter confidence in his candidacy. Challenger David Spring, who has run unsuccessfully twice before, has raised only $1,000. Another challenger, Ryan Burkett, who has no party preference, has not raised any money.
For House Seat 1, Republican Jay Rodne has raised nearly $31,000, and is running unopposed. Information such as this can be found on the Business Institute web site (www.businessinstitutewa.org).
As you evaluate candidates, research who is contributing and determine if those donors’ values align with your own. It is important to become as informed as possible before electing these men and women who will have a great deal of influence on our daily lives.
• Erin McCallum is a Snoqualmie resident and is President of the nonprofit Business Institute of Washington, which works year-round to bring transparency to public policy and politics in Washington state through nonpartisan research and analysis.