No primary ballots will be sent out for three more months. The general election is more than six months away.
But the race to succeed retiring Rep. Dave Reichert in Washington’s 8th Congressional District — one that’s been targeted by both national parties as they battle for control of the U.S. House — is already one of the most expensive in state history.
Candidates for the seat had raised more than $4.7 million, as of March 31, dwarfing the total that’s been raised in any U.S. House race in Washington since 2012.
Washington candidates raised more than the 8th District sum in only four U.S. House races since 2000, according to campaign finance data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.
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The most expensive House race was in 2012, when Reichert and his Democratic opponent combined to raise more than $7 million.
With a crowded Democratic primary, and more than six months to go, this year’s race could top that.
Republican Dino Rossi continues to lead in fundraising, with nearly twice as much campaign cash in the bank as any of his Democratic rivals.
Rossi brought in more than $742,000 in the first three months of 2018, bringing his fundraising total to more than $2 million, with about $1.5 million in the bank, according to his most recent filing to the Federal Election Commission, which was due Sunday.
Rossi, most recently a state senator and previously an unsuccessful candidate for U.S. Senate and governor in Washington, is the only Republican running for the seat, against a slew of Democrats.
Kim Schrier, a Sammamish pediatrician, continues to lead the Democratic field in fundraising, although two other Democrats also posted their strongest fundraising quarters yet.
The 8th District has traditionally voted for congressional Republicans. But Reichert’s retirement and a national political environment that seems to favor Democrats, have Democrats targeting the district as a prime pickup opportunity in the fight for control of the House.
The 8th — which covers southern King County and eastern Pierce County and stretches over the Cascades to encompass Kittitas and Chelan counties — is one of 23 districts across the country held by a Republican, but in which Hillary Clinton outperformed Donald Trump in 2016.
Schrier’s campaign got a boost late last year when she was endorsed by EMILY’s List, a national fundraising powerhouse that helps elect Democratic women who support abortion rights.
She brought in more than $477,000 in the first quarter of 2018, bringing her campaign total to just over $1 million. Her campaign has just over $780,000 in the bank.
She also announced Monday that she would not accept donations from corporate political-action committees (PACs).
Democrat Shannon Hader has raised the second-most campaign cash among Democratic candidates, a total of just over $600,000, with about $515,000 in the bank. But that total is boosted by a $300,000 contribution from the candidate herself.
Hader, a doctor who has worked for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, listed the $300,000 as a loan, leaving open the possibility that she could be paid back through future fundraising.
“I’m showing my commitment with skin in the game,” Hader said of the $300,000. “I want people to see that I’m all in to win this race.”
Democrat Jason Rittereiser, a former King County deputy prosecutor, has raised nearly $600,000, with more than $400,000 on hand.
Rittereiser also pledged not to take donations from corporate PACs.
Among noteworthy donors to Rossi are the Club for Growth PAC, a major supporter of Republicans nationally, which has given him nearly $36,000, and the PAC for Koch Industries, the Republican mega-donors, which gave Rossi $10,000.
Rossi, Schrier and Rittereiser have all received the vast majority of their support from within Washington. Most of Hader’s support, excluding her own donation to her campaign, has come from out of state.
All the candidates are vying to advance past the Aug. 7 primary. The field has time to shift, as the official candidate-filing deadline does not arrive until May 18.