On Friday the Seattle Times reported on the obscene levels of cash flowing into Congressional races in Washington state. Democratic and Republican PACs have spent over $16 million dollars largely on ads in Washington's 8th. If you combine that number with the amount raised by Democrat Kim Schrier and Republican Dino Rossi, there's $25 million dedicated to electing a single goddamned politician in that district, making it the second most expensive House race in the country.
Meanwhile, in a recent push to save seats they didn't know they'd have to defend, Republican groups dumped $1.5 million on ad buys in Washington's 3rd Congressional District, basically erasing the fundraising advantage Democrat Carolyn Long built up over the course of her campaign. Outside spending looks only slightly less wild by comparison in eastern Washington, where Republican incumbent Cathy McMorris Rodgers leads Democrat Lisa Brown $5.5 million to $5.3 million in the fundraising race. According to the most recent filings, independent expenditures have only dropped a little over $177,000 total.
The point of all this money from outside groups is to depress turnout with a bunch of negative ads. They want people to think that the Democrat is just as bad as the Republican (and vice versa), so what does it matter who they vote for. Though Democrats obviously participate in this game, they're doing it because they have to. If they didn't, only left-leaning new voters and and independents flirting with the idea of not voting against their interests for once would stay home, and the Democrats would lose.
Though the Portland, Ore. media market is about to be flooded with ads paid for by those independent expenditures, the only thing you can do is throwing more money Long's way so she can launch a counterattack. Those nice young boys at Pod Save America called out the district as one of the places to invest if you want more bang for your buck. In our 2018 endorsements, The Stranger did, too. If Herrera Beutler retains her seat, she'll continue to vote with the Trump administration over 90 percent of the time. Sen. Mitch McConnell said favorable results in the midterms will lead the Republicans to try to repeal Obamacare again and also to cut earned benefits like Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid. Though she didn't vote for Trumpcare, Herrera Buetler voted to repeal Obamacare several times, and she also voted for the tax cuts, which ripped the heart out of Obamacare and caused premiums to rise by 16 percent this year.
Throwing more money at the 8th isn't worth it. What you need to do is get your friends in a van and go knock on doors in Auburn and Wenatchee. Check out Swing Left's list of canvassing and phone banking events this week.
As for eastern Washington: send more money Lisa Brown's way, and call everybody you know at Washington State University and Gonzaga and tell them to vote.
Record numbers of King County voters have already voted. That's good! But I'm also hearing from people on the ground (i.e., at the bar) that people are voting and "checking out." If you are one of those people—and you likely aren't because you're reading a post about money in politics—then you need to check the fuck back in and get to it. Because as you check out, independent expenditures check in.