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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."

Special Election To Fill Washington House Seat Tops $1 Million

Campaign photos
Democrat Carol Gregor, left, and Republican Teri Hickel are in a tight race for Washington's 30th legislative district House seat.

Money is pouring into a highly competitive special election to fill an open seat in the Washington state House. But tracing where that money comes from is no easy task.

The battle for Washington’s 30th legislative district between Seattle and Tacoma features Democrat Carol Gregory and Republican Teri Hickel. Gregory was appointed to the seat following the death of incumbent Democrat Roger Freeman.

The stakes of this election are so high because the outcome of could determine future control of the Washington House. And that’s why so much money is flowing to this off-year, special election.

Many of the donors are hidden behind layers of political action committees. But what you find when you peel those layers is no surprise: unions, tribes and trial lawyers are major backers of the Democrat while business and corporate interests are lining up behind the Republican.

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."