Murray spent $3.9 million in July

Sen. Patty Murray drained more than half of her $7 million campaign fund in July, much of it on preparations for a vigorous defense of her seat this fall.

As the Democrat spent down her campaign cache, Republican challenger Dino Rossi did well padding his, according to campaign reports filed Thursday and released by the campaigns.

Murray raised $303,000, to push her cash total above the $7.1 million mark as of July 28, the end of the latest reporting period for the Federal Election Commission.

By the end of the month, she had spent $3.9 million. Some of it went to pay for commercials running before the primary. A big chunk went to reserve air time to run ads on television stations statewide in September and October.

“We are planning ahead. We’re pre-funding some future media expenses,” said Julie Edwards, communications director for Murray’s campaign. “I’m not going to go into detail on them.”

Even after the spending, the three-term incumbent had $3.18 million on hand when July ended, which is more than Rossi and the 13 other challengers in the primary.

And she’ll get a chance to restock her cash pile when President Barack Obama visits the Seattle area for a fundraiser Aug. 17.

Rossi did outraise Murray in July. He pulled in $573,672 on the strength of fundraisers in New York and Washington, D.C. By the end of July, he had about $1.75 million in cash.

Republicans Clint Didier and Paul Akers, who are battling Rossi in the primary, did not issue information Thursday on their fundraising in July.

In the 2nd Congressional District, Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., enjoyed a slight fundraising advantage over the top Republican challenger, Snohomish County Councilman John Koster.

Larsen collected $55,108 in contributions — nearly half from political action committees — and had $864,344 on hand July 28, FEC reports show.

Koster, meanwhile, took in $45,281, of which $7,500 came from PACs, and began August with $127,069 in cash.

In the 1st Congressional District, Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., hauled in $106,553 and ended July with a whopping $1.37 million in cash.

Republican James Watkins collected $18,000 and ended the month with $23,544 while Republican Matthew Burke received $918 in contributions and, after expenses, had more than $5,000 in unpaid bills.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623;

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