Republican front-runner Dino Rossi hauled in more than $575,000 in donations just nine days after kicking off his campaign to replace retiring Rep. Dave Reichert in Washington’s 8th District.
Rossi doubled the fundraising of any of his opponents in the third filing quarter. The next-closest candidate, pediatrician Kim Schrier, a Democrat, raised a shade under $275,000.
The donations to Rossi’s campaign flowed in from the day of his announcement, Sept. 21, to the end of the quarter on Sept. 30, an average of more than $64,000 per day (and $2,680 per hour) during the span.
“I hoped we’d get off to a strong start, but I didn’t know for sure how people would react,” Rossi wrote in a Facebook post to his supporters last week.
“I can’t thank you enough for your support,” he said. Ninety-five percent of the contributions came from Washington State, Rossi said. “This was just the first step — we’ve got a long road until the election ahead of us.”
The state Democratic party was not surprised by Rossi’s initial haul. But it was impressed.
“You and I knew this could happen — and it did,” an official wrote in an email to the Seattle Times, emphasizing Rossi raised the money in “just nine (NINE!) days.”
Democrats could overcome Rossi’s thick wallet with party cohesion and boots on the ground, the official said.
“Look, we’re never going to match his massive network of wealthy Republican donors, but we can keep Rossi retired by coming together with a groundswell of grassroots support.”
Rossi, a former Washington Republican state senator, has a high profile in the state after two narrow defeats for governor (2004, 2008) and one for Senate (2010) in the last decade.
He’s trying to take up the GOP torch from Reichert, who is finishing his seventh term in Congress and calling it quits.
The 8th District spans the central portion of the state, including mostly-white King and Pierce Counties, and has remained firmly in the GOP’s clutch since it was created in 1983, but Reichert’s retirement could open the door for a Democratic takeover in 2018.
At least eight candidates have declared for the Democratic primary.
Republicans are banking on Rossi’s name recognition and strong reputation among heavyweight GOP state donors to carry him to victory.
“Democrats should prepare for an uphill battle if they plan to challenge one of Washington’s beloved Republicans in a historically conservative district,” state GOP Chairwoman Susan Hutchison said in a statement shortly after Rossi announced he would run.