SPOKANE, Wash. — Money is being spent on Spokane politics at unprecedented levels. Though more money is going to the mayor's race, the contest for city council president is seeing heavy spending, too.
Both Breean Beggs and Cindy Wendle have already raised tens of thousands of dollars.
Wendle has $98,997 in contributions as of the end of August. Beggs has $69,075.
That adds up to $168,072 in donations alone.
But Wendle also has received another $80,679 in support through independent expenditures, an unlimited form of donation where groups can buy ads for candidates with or without their approval.
That means nearly $250,000 has already been spent on the race for council president. The exact total currently rests at $249,805.
How does that compare to years past? In 2015, Ben Stuckart had raised $87,955 by August and his opponent John Ahern had raised only $4,295.
Even by November, donors had spent $109,314, less than half of what's already been spent this year.
In 2011, it was a similar story.
Stuckart had $71,680 through August and Dennis Hession had $27,334.
By the general election, $175,577 had been spent, only slightly more than the $168,072 that has already been spent in 2019 when not including the independent expenditures.
In 2007, almost no money was spent in comparison. In fact, one candidate filed under "mini-reporting," meaning they raised less than $5,000.
Donors have repeatedly indicated they see 2019 as an especially important election year in Spokane for a variety of reasons, perhaps chief among them housing.
The Washington Realtors PAC, by far the biggest spender, has said they're invested in Spokane politics this year because of the region's housing crisis.