Larsen, Koster in race for election cash

  • Thu Jul 15th, 2010 10:08pm
  • News

By Jerry Cornfield Herald Writer

Democratic U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen is doing pretty well raising money for what he expects will be a grueling fight for re-election.

So, too, is John Koster, the Republican who poses the greatest challenge to the five-term incumbent this fall.

Larsen raked in $319,288, while Koster collected $210,118 in the three-month period ending June 30, according to reports filed Thursday with the Federal Election Commission.

Larsen does enjoy a sizable advantage on Koster in the amount of cash in their campaign accounts at this stage.

The Everett resident has hauled in just over $1 million in this election cycle and had $833,672 on hand at the end of the reporting period, according to his campaign staff. Koster had $211,000 available, federal records show.

Trailing by such a large sum isn’t disappointing, Koster’s campaign manager said.

“I think at this stage we’re one of the top challenger races ever conducted in the 2nd Congressional District,” Larry Stickney said. “We’re a going concern.”

And one fed by donations from individuals not special interest political action committees, he stressed.

Stickney cited federal statistics posted earlier this week showing two-thirds of Larsen’s contributions come from PACs while 96 percent of donors to Koster are individuals.

Koster did receive $5,000 from the PAC led by his best known endorser, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Larsen and Koster are two of five people vying for the seat representing an area that stretches from Everett to the Canadian border and includes all of Island, Skagit and Whatcom counties.

Bellingham’s Larry Kalb, a leading voice among progressive Democrats, reported $2,338 on hand at the end of the reporting period. Democrat Diana McGinness and Republican John Carmack, both from Bellingham, received no contributions, according to the federal reports.

In the U.S. Senate race, Republican Clint Didier, an Eltopia farmer and former professional football player, reported $220,000 in contributions in the second-quarter including a $5,000 check from Palin’s PAC.

Didier’s fundraising total this election is now roughly $570,000, though after deducting what he’s spent, he had only $103,000 in cash on hand at the end of the reporting period.

“I am so humbled and proud that so many people are sending me their hard-earned money,” Didier said in a news release. “We’re seeing $5 and $10 donations from people who say they wish they could send more.”

Didier is far behind Republican Dino Rossi and the incumbent, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., in the race for money

Rossi, the Sammamish businessman who entered the race in late May, hauled in $1.4 million by June 30 and didn’t spend much in that first month. Murray, of Whidbey Island, received $1.6 million in contributions and ended the latest reporting period with $6.8 million on hand.

Republican Paul Akers, a Bellingham businessman who is mostly self-financing his long-shot campaign, took in $20,688 and ended with $13,020 this period, according to his campaign.

Overall, he’s poured nearly $240,000 of his own money into the effort and spent a large chunk on a series of television commercials which ran in the spring.

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep Jay Inslee, D-Wash., is awash in campaign funds as he faces the challenge of two Republicans and an independent.

Inslee reported $208,217 in contributions and ended the period with $1.32 million on hand, an amount that dwarfs his foes.

Republican James Watkins of Kirkland collected $63,000 to push his total for the election to $210,000, his campaign reported. He had $64,000 on hand as of June 30.

Republican Matthew Burke of Redmond and Independent David Schirle of Lynnwood did not have information posted online by 6 p.m. Thursday.

Reporter Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623;

To read the reports, go to