Big backing behind DelBene, background checks | THE PETRI DISH

Freshman Democratic U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene spent a couple of her millions to get into Congress.

Jerry Cornfield

Freshman Democratic U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene spent a couple of her millions to get into Congress.

Now, plenty of others are spending their dough to keep her there for another term.

DelBene raised $457,939 in the months of April, May and June and reported $1.1 million in cash on hand at the start of July, according to reports filed Tuesday with the Federal Election Commission. The Medina resident has now raised $1.7 million since the start of the election cycle last year, according to her campaign.

About half those dollars have come from individuals and the other half from political action committees. That’s a far cry from 2012 when DelBene, a former Microsoft executive, put roughly $2.3 million into her winning campaign. By election day, her money made up two-thirds of her fund raising.

Republican Pedro Celis of Redmond, the only challenger raising serious money, reported $208,000 in campaign donations in the three-month period, according to reports. Overall, he’s raised roughly $405,000 since entering the race in March and has $260,000 in cash on hand.

Celis, also a former executive of Microsoft, initially put in $30,800 of his own money. But he said he cannot self-finance as DelBene did in 2012.

Two polls on gun measures

A November ballot initiative to expand the state’s law on background checks on gun sales enjoys broad support among Washington voters while a competing measure is losing ground among the electorate.

An Elway Poll released Tuesday found 70 percent of those surveyed back Initiative 594 which would apply background checks to “all firearm sales and transfers, including gun shows and online sales.” Twenty-two percent said they oppose the measure, up from 19 percent tallied in April by pollster Stuart Elway of Seattle.

It’s not looking nearly as good for Initiative 591, a competing measure which bars the state from enacting a law on background checks that exceeds federal statutes. Elway’s poll found only 46 percent back the initiative, a drop from 55 percent support registered in April. Forty-two percent oppose I-591, up from 33 percent in April.

The survey of 506 voters statewide was conducted July 8-11 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percent.

If you’re wondering, the chances of both measures winning approval seem to be waning. Only 32 percent of those surveyed said they intended to vote for both initiatives compared to 40 percent in April.

But if both pass, it will be a new experience for Washington. There’s no statute or case law covering simultaneous voter approval of two initiatives dealing with the same subject in opposite ways, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

Lawmakers could, on a two-thirds majority vote, pick one to enact, or try to harmonize the two measures – which is improbable given they counteract each other. If lawmakers deadlock, look for it to be punted to the state Supreme Court where justices would be asked to name the initiative with the most votes the winner.

Political reporter Jerry Cornfield’s blog, The Petri Dish, is at www.heraldnet.com. Contact him at 360-352-8623 orjcornfield@heraldnet.com.

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