Seattle Mayoral Money Race Is Heating Up; Burgess Moves Into Poll Position

“Money is the mother’s milk of politics,” as California’s Jesse Unruh once famously said. And right now, it’s Seattle City Councilman Tim Burgess who is enjoying the biggest gulp.

The mayoral hopeful raised more than $29,000 in March, and he’s spending it as fast as it’s coming in. In lapping all of the other seven contenders, Burgess to date has amassed $194,558 and ended last month with $86,105 in his campaign war chest.

His fellow council colleague Bruce Harrell also had a very good month, pocketing $29,575 and has now raised a very respectable $78,473 -- this from a candidate most of the city’s political intelligentsia considers a dark horse.

Incumbent Mayor Mike McGinn raised $22,015, and ranks second behind Burgess in total dollars accumulated at $153,781. McGinn, whose approval rating has languished almost since the outset of his term, ended March with $73,564 cash-on-hand.

As Seattle’s Joel Connelly observed, “As an incumbent, however, McGinn can — and does — hold public events virtually every day. He was promising to save the Fourth of July fireworks early this week, announcing transportation studies on Wednesday and has a child-care funding announcement slated for Thursday. The joke among Seattle reporters is that the city’s greatest hypothermia danger comes in covering outdoor McGinn media events.”

Poor state Sen. Ed Murray didn’t -- and couldn’t -- raise a dime in March, because state law forbids a lawmaker from seeking contributions when the Legislature is in session. Guess who can’t wait until sine die? Still, Murray, who last month received the endorsement of the Human Rights Campaign -- the country’s best-heeled gay and lesbian political lobby -- managed to close out March with $66,997 in the bank.

Ex-City Councilman Peter Steinbrueck had his best month in March, raising $22,360. Since entering the contest, the politico-turned-consultant has generated $44,299 in campaign contributions, and has $30,405 ready to spend. Steinbrueck recently told Seattle Weekly he’s looking to retain a professional fund-raiser.

Meanwhile, bow tie-clad candidates are doing quite well as far attracting campaign financiers, as Seattle real estate agent Charlie Staadecker can attest. He collected $22,360, has taken in $132,325, and had $65,900 in cash-on-hand as of April 1.

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