Washington residents have contributed nearly $10 million to candidates in many of the 36 contests for Senate seats in the Nov. 3 election, including (top, from left) Amy McGrath, Lindsey Graham, Jamie Harrison, and (bottom, from left) Mark Kelly, Martha McSally and Mitch McConnell. (AP photos)

Washington residents have contributed nearly $10 million to candidates in many of the 36 contests for Senate seats in the Nov. 3 election, including (top, from left) Amy McGrath, Lindsey Graham, Jamie Harrison, and (bottom, from left) Mark Kelly, Martha McSally and Mitch McConnell. (AP photos)

Washington donors help stoke fires of hot U.S. Senate races

Contributions are flowing into electoral battles from Arizona to Maine, Kentucky to South Carolina.

EVERETT — Washington residents are opening their wallets to influence U.S. Senate races that could reset the balance of power in the chamber.

They’ve contributed $10 million to candidates competing in the most heated contests for Senate seats in the Nov. 3 election.

Collectively, the largest sums are flowing into high profile races in Arizona, Maine, South Carolina and Iowa, where incumbent Republicans face better-financed Democratic opponents. But plenty of money is showing up, as well, in electoral fights in Montana, Colorado and Kentucky, records show.

Of the total, roughly $300,000 made its way from addresses in Snohomish County by the end of September, based on The Daily Herald’s review of campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Edmonds residents accounted for the biggest chunk, $85,518, followed by those in Bothell, $46,107, and Everett, $35,410.

A majority of contributions from the county and the state went to Democratic challengers, according to the analysis, which focused on individual contributions to candidates. It does not cover money given to political action committees, which may independently support a candidate.

Donors say the reason is the stakes in this election extend beyond the race for the White House.

Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate. Democrats hope to pick up at least three seats, plus the presidency, to regain control.

Democrats are fueled by frustration with the Trump administration’s and the GOP-led Senate’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and, more recently, the rapid appointment of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

“The future of our American republic runs through the United State Senate,” said D.J. Wilson of Woodway, owner of Washington State Wire and a former Democratic political consultant. “If we can’t fix the U.S. Senate, we risk losing our democracy.”

Wilson sent $600 to Jaime Harrison, the Democratic challenger to Sen. Lindsey Graham in South Carolina.

Harrison had raised $87 million as of Sept. 30, almost $30 million more than Graham, in one of the most watched contests in the nation.

Of Harrison’s total, $444,605 is from Washington, with $30,492 coming from Snohomish County. Graham reported $164,000 from individuals in the state, including $17,215 from the county.

Donors in this state have poured nearly $1.2 million into the duel between GOP Sen. Martha McSally and Democrat Mark Kelly in Arizona.

Kelly hauled in $842,722, with almost 40% coming from zip codes in Seattle. He got $30,229 from Snohomish County residents. McSally, meanwhile, received $340,797 statewide, of which $18,391 came from folks in the county.

Debra Blodgett of Clearview is among those giving to McSally and other GOP candidates this cycle. Blodgett, chairwoman of the Snohomish County Republican Party, said President Donald Trump — to whose campaign she’s given nearly $3,000 — must continue to have a Republican Senate at his back.

“We need to protect our republic,” she said. “We don’t want our country going to any kind of socialist, Marxist regime change. That’s my fear.”

Brian Baird of Edmonds, a former Democratic congressman who has more recently worked on several bipartisan political initiatives, contributed $500 to Kelly and $400 to Harrison, whom he knows from his days serving in Congress.

“He’s super smart, soft spoken, completely dedicated to public service and just a really likable and capable young man,” Baird said in an email. “Plus, Lindsey Graham has proven himself to be willing to say and do whatever it takes to stay in office and Lindsey has backed the worst President in the history of the nation and some of the very worst policies of that President.”

One race that’s attracted $1.1 million from this state is in Kentucky, where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is fending off the challenge of Democrat Amy McGrath.

McGrath got the lion’s share, reporting $820,000 from this state, with $41,226 out of Snohomish County, the most any U.S. Senate candidate collected from county residents this election cycle. McConnell tallied $207,836 statewide, of which $18,394 came from the county.

In the less heated but no less important battleground of Montana, Democratic challenger Steve Bullock had received $342,376 from Washington while the incumbent, Sen. Steve Daines, reported $105,000.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @dospueblos.

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