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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."

National Republican Group Puts Money Into Washington Legislative Races

Colin Fogarty
Northwest News Network files

The Republican State Leadership Committee, a national Republican group with a focus on “down ballot” races, is pumping money into Washington state.

So far this year, they have invested more than $300,000 in the state.

The group’s contributions include a $250,000 check to The Leadership Council, a political action committee associated with Washington Senate Republicans. The RSLC also provided $80,000 worth of polling to the House Republican’s Reagan Fund.

Jill Bader, the RSLC’s communications director, said her group is targeting races up and down the west coast this year.

“You know there’s a lot momentum for Republicans on the left coast,” she said. “We have opportunities in Oregon and California and Washington.”

The RSLC has been credited with helping flip state legislatures from Democrat to Republican. It’s a 527 political group that gets its funding from individual and corporate donors. The group’s most recent IRS filing shows five-and-six-figure contributions from pharmaceutical companies, as well as Wal-Mart, CitiGroup and the American Natural Gas Alliance.

Since 2004, the RSLC has put more than $5 million into Washington state elections.

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."