Spending in Spokane mayoral race tops $1 million

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Spending on the race for Spokane mayor has topped $1 million mark after an independent conservative political group spent $50,000 on ads attacking Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart.

The Spokesman-Review reports that spending on the race between Stuckart and Nadine Woodward is expected to increase. Since Oct. 1, conservative and liberal groups have spent more than $285,000 on the race, according to information filed with the state Public Disclosure Commission.

The spending has largely been in favor of Woodward, a former TV news anchor running her first campaign who has described herself as center-right. As of Tuesday, groups not affiliated with her campaign have spent $309,000 on her behalf, whereas $186,000 has been spent for Stuckart, an outspoken member of the Democratic Party.

The two candidates for the nonpartisan office also have raised funds directly to their campaigns, Stuckart with $285,000, and Woodward $271,000.

The money pouring into Spokane's municipal elections isn't just breaking city records, but is outpacing outside election spending in similarly sized cities in the Pacific Northwest.

In 2017, Tacoma had a mayor's race that drew three candidates, Evelyn Lopez, James Merritt and Victoria Woodards. In that race, independent groups spent $129,000. For this year's election in Tacoma, which doesn't include a mayoral race, $40,000 has so far been spent.

In Boise this year, $161,000 has been spent by independent political committees, according to pre-general election documents required to be filed by Oct. 10. The biggest spenders there include the Building Contractors Association of Southwest Idaho, which spent $40,000, and the Conservation Voters for Idaho Action Fund, with $32,000.