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Big bucks rolling into Tacoma’s mayor race

Post by Lewis Kamb / The News Tribune on Oct. 8, 2009 at 2:08 pm |
October 8, 2009 2:37 pm

With still three-and-a-half weeks to go until Election Day, City of Tacoma mayoral candidate Marilyn Strickland has broken the $100,000 mark in campaign contributions, and her opponent, Jim Merritt, is likely to soon follow.MarilynStricklandLargeWebMerritt

According to the latest figures from the state’s Public Disclosure Commission, Strickland has amassed $103,476.11 in contributions (nearly $88,000 in cash). Meanwhile, Merritt has raised contributions totaling $99,305.27 (about $80,000 in cash).

While those contribution totals are comparatively high for Tacoma municipal elections — and by far the highest totals in this year’s city races — they still have a long way to go before setting any records.

In the city’s last competitive mayor’s race in 2001, Bill Baarsma raised nearly $142,000 en route to defeating Harold Moss, who garnered more than $116,000 that year, PDC records show. Campaign contribution records going farther back than the 2000 elections are not readily available online.

In the current mayor’s race, what may be even more telling is how much each candidate has so far spent. Strickland is sitting pretty, having spent just over $40,000 (or under 40 percent of total $ raised), while Merritt has spent more than $71,000 (or more than 70 percent of his total $ raised).

Strickland’s campaign has been helped largely by big donations from the local labor unions, including the firefighters’ PAC and Tacoma Police Union. She’s also received big donations from local businesswoman and former Korean Women’s Association president Lea Armstrong, former Mayor Brian Ebersole and former Pierce County Executive chief-of-staff Lyle Quasim, among others.

Merritt’s run has received substantial help from local builders and contractors, including the PAC, Builders United In Legislative Development. He’s also received help from such individuals as attorney Jack Connelly, civic activist Dawn Lucien and Dome District construction owner/activist Keith Stone.

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