UPDATED: Anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s Independence USA PAC is pumping big dollars into a couple of Washington State congressional contests, part of the $30 million he reportedly reserved to support Democratic candidates in the upcoming midterm elections, according to The Hill.
The question is, why?
This suggests to many in the Second Amendment community that Bloomberg is determined to create a more gun control-friendly Congress next month, and one of those races is the hotly contested 8th Congressional District battle in Washington State. This has always been a Republican district, and Democrats desperately want to flip it and put Dr. Kim Schrier on Capitol Hill.
Perhaps part of the reason is that Rossi, a political veteran who many Washington conservatives believe was cheated out of a victory in the 2004 gubernatorial race, was not keen about a gun control initiative currently on the Evergreen State ballot. During the debate between Rossi and Schrier earlier this month in Ellensburg, he said it is possible that some tenets of the gun control measure are unconstitutional.
On the other hand, Schrier essentially declared war on the National Rifle Association during her primary advertising blitz. Bloomberg’s PAC, according to The Hill, “will spend nearly $3 million on behalf of” Schrier.
That figure dwarfs the $6,355 that Seattle’s KING5 News, the local NBC affiliate, is reporting that the NRA has spent on behalf of Rossi’s campaign.
The 8th District crosses Washington’s Central Cascades, from the demographically-changing foothill areas of Issaquah, Sammamish and Snoqualmie Ridge on the west to the traditionally conservative timber, farming and ranch country of Ellensburg, Wenatchee, Cle Elum and Chelan on the east. Among Second Amendment activists in and outside of the 8th District, one mention of Michael Bloomberg is toxic.
Hillary Clinton won in the 8th District in 2016, and the Issaquah Reporter is predicting a “cliffhanger” election. Earlier, polling gave Schrier an edge, but that changed dramatically in early October following the Democrat debacle in the Senate Judiciary hearings for Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. It was a game changer that shot Rossi ahead by several points, according to a Crosscut poll.
The Hill noted that Bloomberg’s PAC has also bought airtime in the race between Republican incumbent Jaime Herrera Beutler and Democrat college professor Carolyn Long. Donald Trump won that district in 2016.
But it is the 8th District where the drama may play out, and there are certain hints about which candidate may have the edge with actual district residents.
According to KING, the 8th District race is one of the most expensive in the nation, with more than $25.6 million in spending “including $16.3 million from outside groups.” KING also noted in its report that “Rossi has nearly twice as much money as Schrier coming from individual contributors in Washington state compared to out-of-state contributions. Rossi has raised about $2,026,862 from individual contributors in Washington compared to Schrier’s $1,037,565, according to FEC data.”
Overall, Rossi has raised less and spent less than Schrier, according to KING, but sometimes familiarity with the voters can level that playing field. The news agency said Schrier “has raised over $6.9 million and spent nearly $5.4 million” while Rossi “has raised over $4.4 million and spent over $3.9 million,” according to the FEC. Rossi has represented part of that district in the Legislature and is widely known for his budget work and for his gubernatorial campaigns. Schrier has never held public office.
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