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Stand for Children’s 2012 Washington State Election Spending

During the 2012 election cycle, Stand for Children spent about $750,000 on Washington state elections. The Washington Education Association (WEA) spent around $2 million. Most of Stand’s money came from in-state donors, although a few out of state donors also contributed: Reed Hastings ($50,000), Stacy Schusterman ($25,000), Katherine Bradley ($5,000) and Pamela Welch ($100).

Here is a rundown of the candidates Stand supported, the amount of financial resources dedicated to either supporting the candidate or attacking the opposing candidate, and the outcome of the race1:

WEA didn’t endorse or support Clibborn, King, or Wilcox – but all three ran unopposed. Eric Pettigrew ran against a candidate that WEA didn’t support or endorse, Tamra Smilanich. The Pettigrew-Smilanich race wasn’t even close: Pettigrew won 88% to 12%. Aside from those four candidates, WEA also supported and endorsed all of the winning candidates listed above.

More importantly, Stand spent a heck of a lot of money supporting two candidates: Republican Rob McKenna’s gubernatorial bid, and Republican Dawn McCravey’s bid for a State Senate seat.2 WEA supported the opposing candidates in each race: Democrat Jay Inslee and State Senator Rosemary McAuliffe, chair of the Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee. The WEA-supported candidates won both races.

Of the approximately $700k that went to supporting Stand’s candidates or attacking the opposing candidates, only $25,300 went to winning candidates. Only $16,900 went to candidates that didn’t have the support of WEA – and $10,100 of that money went to candidates who ran unopposed.

It wasn’t a total loss for Stand considering Initiative 1240, which would allow charter schools in the state and a clear favorite of Stand, appears to have passed by a slim margin.

Not to bring up a rather unfortunate episode in Stand’s history, but here is a comment from Jonah Edelman’s now infamous appearance at the 2011 Aspen Ideas Festival:

So in Washington state right now, we’ve got exactly the same goal [raising money to support candidates], and it’s another state that doesn’t lack for financial resources, it’s about achieving the same kind of reallocation. We could readily outspend the Washington Education Association.

Stand didn’t outspend WEA. Edelman was either bluffing, miscalculated, or the damage the Aspen video did to his (and Stand’s) reputation scared off potential (promised?) donors.

One of Jonah’s other remarks at the Aspen Ideas Festival was that you have to play win-lose politics with the unions in some states. He specifically mentioned Washington, Oregon and California. There’s a reasonable amount of overlap between the candidates Stand supported (albeit with far fewer resources) and the candidates favored by WEA. However, in terms of the two high-power candidates Stand clearly preferred in Washington state, WEA came out the clear victor.

  1. At the time of posting, the Benton race was too close to call. Stand also contributed $5,000 to another PAC, Revising the Status Quo, which supported Cann with $4,000 in direct mailers. I did not include that $4,000 in the totals below. I also excluded about $50,000 in contributions to other PACs or independent expenditures that did not list a specific candidate.
  2. Most of the money Stand spent in this race went to attacking State Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe, including mailers and this video

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Ken Libby

Ken Libby is a graduate student studying counseling at Lewis and Clark. He has an MA in educational foundations, policy and practice from the University of Colora...