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45th Legislative District Senate seat fundraising at a half million dollars

State Sen. Andy Hill, left, and challenger Matt Isenhower. - Contributed photos
State Sen. Andy Hill, left, and challenger Matt Isenhower.
— image credit: Contributed photos

Although it is early in the election season, the race for the 45th Legislative District Senate seat is already one of the most costly in the state - with more than a half a million dollars raised.

State Rep. Andy Hill (R-Redmond) has already raised nearly twice as much as any other legislative candidate in the entire state. According to the Public Disclosure Commission's website, Hill has raised approximately $394,642, the highest of any candidate for the state Senate or state House. He is also on track to out-raise his 2010 campaign, when he brought in $420,000, while his then-opponent Eric Oemig raised $290,697, according to PDC. Approximately $11,000 of what Hill has raised this time was carried over from his previous campaign. Sen. Joe Fain (R-Covington) of the 47th Legislative District has raised the second highest amount of any candidate with roughly $212,000, according to PDC.

Hill stated in a phone interview that the amount raised so far indicates the wide-range of support he has in the district from Republicans, as well as Democrats.

"People have confidence in my agenda and they want me to return," he said. "I've been spending a lot of time knocking on doors. Overwhelmingly, the feedback has been positive."

In the opposite corner, Hill's opponent Matt Isenhower (D-Redmond) said he has raised 90,000, which puts him among the top 20 candidates of several hundred for the state legislature, including incumbents. According to PDC, he has raised $83,229, though the site does not always reflect current figures.

"We have a fundraising plan to win and we are right where we need to be," Isenhowever said.

Hill declined to comment on the amount Isenhower has raised. When asked for comment on Hill's fundraising success, Isenhower said he is not surprised.

"We always expected he was going to raise a lot of money from special interests, and Andy is not disappointing us," he said.

Laurie Anderson, communications officer for the PDC, said fundraising tends to be highest for candidates who are in leadership positions or who write the budget. Currently, Hill is the chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, which he was appointed to in 2013, and helped write the most recent state budget.

Anderson added that the amount raised in a race can depend on how much the political parties and caucuses contribute to the campaigns. Party and caucus donations are limited depending the number of voters in the district, Anderson said. Individuals are limited to $950 contributions.

The PDC is updated usually on a weekly basis and as candidates report their amounts.

In the 2012 election, the highest amount raised by any state legislative candidate was Jack Connelly, a trial lawyer who failed in his bid for the state Senate seat in the 27th District. According to an Oct. 17, 2012 Tacoma News Tribune article, he raised roughly $1 million, most of which was self-funded.

The names of contributors and the amount contributed for both candidates can be viewed at http://www.pdc.wa.gov/MvcQuerySystem/Candidate by selecting the 45th Legislative District and then clicking on the "details" tab.

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