Seattle City Council campaign finance analysis, including $1.3 million distributed through public voucher system

Seven of nine city council seats are up for election in Seattle, with a primary election August 6 and general election on November 5. The races have seen satellite spending from the local Chamber of Commerce PAC, and many candidates have received funds from the Democracy Voucher program, a public financing program in which residents distribute $25 vouchers to candidates of their choosing. New campaign finance reports covering through July 15 show us how much campaigns have raised and spent.
 
Campaign finance information was available for 53 candidates across the seven races. They reported a combined $2.5 million raised and $1.7 million spent. District 3 incumbent Kshama Sawant had raised the most of all candidates, with $214,882 in contributions. The second-highest fundraiser was Logan Bowers, who is one of five candidates challenging Sawant in District 3, with $92,240. Third was Alex Pedersen, who faces nine other candidates for the open District 4 seat, with $91,320 raised.
 
The races drawing the highest average contribution amount per candidate are those for District 3 and District 1—races with incumbents whose re-election bids are being opposed by the local Chamber of Commerce PAC. The District 3 race drew the most campaign contributions overall and on a per-candidate average basis. The six candidates have brought in a total of $596,105—$99,351 on average per candidate. District 1, where incumbent Lisa Herbold faces two challengers, had a per-candidate average contribution total of $69,925. Herbold had raised the most of the three, with $78,967 in contributions.
 
Across all seven races, 15 candidates had raised more than $75,000. Participation in the Democracy Voucher Program requires candidates to agree to a $75,000 spending limit in the primary; however, that limit can be lifted in a few cases, including if a challenger (who is not participating in the program) raises or spends above that level or if satellite spending in the race exceeds it. Spending limits have been lifted in all but the District 5 race, where incumbent Debora Juarez faces five opponents. As of July 16, $1.3 million had been distributed to 35 candidates from the voucher program.
 
 



About the author

Amee LaTour

Amee LaTour is a staff writer at Ballotpedia and can be reached at amee.latour@ballotpedia.org

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