A record amount of money is pouring into Legislative District 10 as both political parties have set their sights on the three races on the ballot this year.
The six candidates for the state Senate seat and two House seats in the district have each raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for their war chests, significantly more than in previous years.
Helen Price Johnson, a Democrat from Clinton, said the 10th is a “swing district” that’s among the highest priority for both parties.
Price Johnson, an Island County commissioner running for the Senate seat currently held by Ron Muzzall, has more than $524,000 in contributions, which is the highest amount any candidate in the district has ever raised.
Price Johnson said the fact that there’s not an incumbent in the race makes it especially competitive.
Muzzall, an Oak Harbor Republican who was appointed senator, has raised $471,000. He said the 10th is a top district in terms of political contributions and attention “because the opposing party thinks it has a chance of taking all three seats.”
Yet Republican organizations gave Muzzall nearly $250,000 while Price Johnson only received about $150,000 from Democratic groups.
Muzzall received more than $100,000 from the Senate Republican Campaign Committee alone. Price Johnson relied much more on individuals and unions for contributions.
Four years ago, longtime Sen. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor, raised a total of $475,000 and challenger Angie Homola, D-Oak Harbor, received $309,000 in contributions.
In the hard-fought 2012 race between Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano, and Bailey, the longtime and powerful senator raised less than $500,000 and Bailey raised less than $400,000.
And Price Johnson and Muzzall still have more than two weeks left to raise and report contributions.
The difference is even more stark in the House races.
Rep. Dave Paul, D-Oak Harbor, is the only incumbent in the district. He’s raised $347,000 in donations while his challenger, Bill Bruch, R-La Conner, has $305,000. In the other race, Greg Gilday, R-Stanwood, has $273,000 and Angie Homola, D-Oak Harbor, has $230,000.
Four years ago, none of the House candidates in the district raised more than $100,000.
Two years ago, Paul raised eyebrows by getting $203,000 in contributions.
Muzzall said the district is essentially 36 percent Democrats, 36 percent Republicans and the rest are independent voters.
As a result, he said, it is perpetually considered a swing district.