Politics & Government

Steve O’Ban, R-University Place, is top spender in state legislative races

Heading into Tuesday’s primary election, Republican state Sen. Steve O’Ban of University Place has spent more than any other state legislative candidate – even though he’s guaranteed a spot on the November ballot.

As of the latest campaign finance disclosures, O’Ban’s campaign had spent $233,240, more than twice as much as the campaign of his opponent, state Rep. Tami Green, D-Lakewood. As of last week, Green had spent only $90,595, according to campaign filings with the state Public Disclosure Commission.

The two lawmakers are competing to represent Pierce County’s 28th Legislative District, a politically moderate part of Pierce County that includes Fircrest, University Place, Steilacoom, DuPont, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and parts of Lakewood and Tacoma.

As the only candidates in the 28th district Senate race, both O’Ban and Green are certain to advance to the general election in November.

Even so, the O’Ban campaign has already been working to reach voters online, by mail and on TV. As of last week, O’Ban had already spent $40,000 on cable TV ads, $34,000 on online advertising and about $30,000 on campaign mailers.

The Green campaign, meanwhile, had spent most of its money on paying campaign managers and consultants, with only about $12,200 going toward campaign mailers and nothing spent on TV ads.

The race between Green and O’Ban is one that both parties are focused on this year as they battle for control of the state Senate. Republicans are trying to gain at least one seat so they can form a majority without the aid of conservative Democratic Sen. Tim Sheldon.

Democrats, for their part, are looking to pick up two seats and regain control of the chamber.

A political committee funded by Senate Republicans has spent more than $100,000 on cable ads and mailers opposing Green, which are among the largest independent expenditures of this year’s campaign season.

As of last week, no independent groups had spent money on Green’s behalf. But on Sunday, organizers with Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest plan to doorbell in the 28th district and urge voters to support Green.

O’Ban is also outpacing Green when it comes to raising money. As of the end of June, O’Ban had also raised the second-most of any legislative candidate, amassing $377,907 in campaign contributions, according to PDC records. Green had raised only $157,121.55.

O’Ban, a constitutional lawyer, was appointed to the state Senate in June 2013 after serving about six months in the state House. Green, a nurse, has served in the state House since 2005.

O’Ban has been endorsed by the National Rifle Association, the National Federation of Independent Business and the Washington State Association of REALTORS. His campaign donors include the Association of Washington Business, as well as several insurance and telecommunications companies.

Labor unions make up some of Green’s top supporters. She’s received donations from the Washington Education Association, the Washington Federation of State Employees and the SEIU 1999 NW, the statewide union of health care workers.

Outside of labor groups, Green is endorsed by Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and NARAL Pro-Choice Washington.