Hobbs sees new backers after win

Democrat Steve Hobbs is collecting the dividends of winning.

He is headed to the state Senate having unseated incumbent Republican Dave Schmidt on Nov. 7.

Within hours of his victory, those who opposed or ignored Hobbs during the campaign started writing him checks.

He received $21,600 in contributions between Nov. 7 and Nov. 30, primarily from political action committees representing special interests covering a wide swath of the state’s political spectrum.

Associations for real estate agents, liquor distributors and restaurateurs sent checks. The voices of bankers, insurers, pavers, pilots, dentists, sewer operators and eye doctors sent donations.

So, too, did unions for public employees and teachers. Most donors gave $700, a few of them less than $500.

The names of prominent locals also showed up on Hobbs’ campaign disclosure reports.

Like developer Pat McCourt’s firm, Barclay’s North Inc. He stood solidly behind Schmidt and then sent Hobbs $700 on Nov. 24.

The post-election rush of financial aid didn’t surprise him.

“There were a lot of groups in the race who liked me who couldn’t give me money because Dave was the incumbent,” Hobbs said.

Now that he’s the senator-elect, folks are sending him congratulations and cash.

Hobbs isn’t planning to return any checks because of a donor’s political persuasion. The only exception is tobacco interests, whose money he doesn’t want.

All those dollars will pay off a campaign debt Hobbs estimated is nearing $20,000.

And if there are leftover funds?

“I’m running again,” he said.

Everett mayor wants college

If Snohomish County gets a new college, Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson wants it built in his city.

Stephanson has quietly committed nearly $60,000 on two lobbyists and an adviser to ensure the city’s interest is kept in front of the governor and state lawmakers.

In October, Stephanson signed Everett native Dick Thompson to a $2,500-a-month contract as the adviser. Thompson, who is a former high-ranking state official and consummate insider respected by Democrats and Republicans alike, is onboard through July 15, 2007.

In November, Stephanson hired veteran lobbyists Len McComb and Jim Hedrick. The duo received a six-month contract paying them a combined $6,000 a month.

Hiring the trio has produced an early payoff.

On Dec. 5, Stephanson; Sen. Paull Shin, D-Edmonds; Rep. Mike Sells, D-Everett; and others met with Gov. Chris Gregoire.

The city’s team offered her language for possible insertion in her budget. It called for spending $5 million over two years on the pursuit of a college. She’s settled on $2 million.

Everett is the only city openly campaigning for the college. So far.

“We look at it as a major issue for the city,” said Pat McClain, the city’s governmental affairs director. “We felt we needed to step up to the plate.”

Reporter Jerry Cornfield can be reached at 360-352-8623 or jcornfield@heraldnet.com.

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