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Jerry Cornfield | jcornfield@heraldnet.com
Published: Sunday, July 15, 2012, 11:33 p.m.

Candidate's mom funding ads attacking opponent

In the heated 1st Congressional District race, the question of who is funding political attacks on Democratic candidate Suzan DelBene got answered Sunday: it is the mother of one of her Democratic opponents, Laura Ruderman.

Margaret Rothschild of Vashon Island helped form Progress for Washington, a political action committee, and contributed $115,000 to the group on June 25, according to Federal Election Commission reports released Sunday.

As of Sunday, the PAC had spent close to $85,000 on four mailers targeting DelBene's accomplishments as an executive with Microsoft, Drugstore.com and other software firms. Those mailers arrived in mail boxes throughout the district in the past two weeks.

DelBene and Ruderman are two of five Democrats in the seven-person contest for the congressional seat. The PAC has thus far not gone after the other Democrats in the race -Darcy Burner, Darshan Rauniyar and Steve Hobbs. There is also one Republican, John Koster, and an independent, Larry Ishmael.

Rothschild explained her reasons in a statement released Sunday following online reports of her involvement by Jonathan Martin of the Seattle Times and Josh Feit of Publicola.

She said she acted out of frustration “that a candidate could self fund a campaign for Congress and knew that my daughter did not have the means to do that.”

She went on to explain how she followed the advice of a former Ruderman consultant, Jeff Gumbinner, in setting up the PAC to make independent expenditures in the race.

Here's her statement:

Today I understand it was disclosed that I am the donor to Progress For Washington.

I love my daughter very much and I think she would make a great Congresswoman. I also love my country and think she's the best candidate we have to beat John Koster. As I undergo ongoing cancer treatment, I am in a place in my life where I have to make hard decisions about what is important to me.

I grew very frustrated that a candidate could self fund a campaign for Congress and knew that my daughter did not have the means to do that. So I called Jeff Gumbinner, a consultant that I knew from previous campaigns, and asked him how I could help. He suggested setting up Progress For Washington and talked me through each and every step of the way. I don't have many millions of dollars but this was an effort I could make.

I am not taking any press calls at this time. However, I do want to make it clear that I did this out of love for my daughter and because I think she's the best candidate.


Ruderman, through her campaign manager Liz Berry, has repeatedly denied any knowledge of the people involved in the running and funding of Progress for Washington. Berry did so again Sunday when she told Martin that Ruderman “had no idea it was her mother.”

Revelations about the PAC overshadowed the other news Sunday – DelBene is spending a lot of her own money to try to finish in the top two in this race.

DelBene has poured $1,001,740 into the campaign, according to FEC filings. The sum boosted her fund raising total for the race to $1,556,731 as of June 30, the end of the latest reporting period.

However, DelBene has spent most of it as she had just $191,475 remaining at the beginning of July.

Among Democratic candidates, Darcy Burner has raised the second highest amount in the race $484,847 and had $85,612 on hand. Ruderman's latest reports had not been posted online Sunday but at the start of April she had pulled in $362,115 and had $220,026 in the bank.

John Koster, the lone Republican in the race, has received $452,995 in contributions and had $115,632 on hand, according to the reports.

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