Regional Public Journalism
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Nearly $9 Million And Counting For Washington Fall Ballot Measures

Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the aggregate amount of money raised by the campaigns.

Washington’s November election will decide three statewide ballot measures. So far, nearly $9 million has flowed to these campaigns. And it’s still early.

Initiative 594 to expand background checks for gun sales is far out in the lead when it comes to fundraising. So far, nearly $6 million raised with recent half-million-dollar contributions each from Paul Allen, Bill Gates and Melinda Gates. Plus, venture capitalist Nick Hanauer just ponied up $1 million.

Number two in the fundraising race is Initiative 1351 to reduce class sizes. It has raised $1.5 million mostly from the Washington Education Association, according to the state's Public Disclosure Commission website.

In third place is Initiative 591. This is the dueling background check measure funded by pro-gun groups. So far they’ve raised just over $1 million.

By Washington ballot measure standards these are still modest numbers. Last year, the battle over GMO-labeling drew more than $40 million in spending.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."