A Washington environmental group with funding from California billionaire Tom Steyer has begun working to defeat state Sen. Steve O’Ban, a Republican from Tacoma.
At least $197,000 from Washington Conservation Voters landed in the race between O’Ban and Rep. Tami Green on Friday, the same day Steyer’s committee finished making a $750,000 gift to Conservation Voters.
Another $210,000 of the money ended up in another key Senate race in Redmond.
The conservation group spent most of Friday’s outlay on paid canvassing. The rest of it paid for online ads against O’Ban and a donation to a committee that has been making phone calls and knocking on doors on Lakewood Democrat Green’s behalf.
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Democrats are trying to take over the Senate to win back full control of state government, and the 28th District in west Pierce County is a top target.
Campaign spending there has hit the $1 million mark, which among legislative races is second only to the 45th District contest between Republican Sen. Andy Hill and Democrat Matt Isenhower — the other Steyer target.
Steyer is helping selected Democrats around the country in an effort to advance policies aimed at halting climate change. With his money in hand, Washington Conservation Voters is now Washington’s second most well-funded political action committee, trailing only the Washington Education Association teachers’ union.
Just behind the WEA, Conservation Voters and Steyer PACs in financing is the Good Government Leadership Council, the group supporting O’Ban and attacking Green.
It’s funded by Senate Republicans, who received a major out-of-state infusion of their own Friday from a national Republican group. The Republican State Leadership Committee, which funds down-ballot races, has given $400,000 to Senate Republicans over the past month.