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."

Negative Ad Spending Unleashed In Washington As Election Nears

The floodgates have opened on negative campaign spending in Washington state. Just since October 1, more than $800,000 has been spent -- mostly to defeat candidates for the state legislature.

The stakes are significant with control of both the Washington state House and Senate up for grabs. While the candidates may try to keep it positive, outside groups are doing the proverbial dirty work.

In legislative races, the negative campaigns are largely funded by political action committees tied to the House and Senate Democratic and Republican legislative caucuses.

Take for example the Mainstream Voters of Washington PAC. It’s funded by Democratic interests and just put $105,000 into a campaign against Republican Chad Magendanz who’s trying to get elected to the Washington Senate.

Meanwhile his opponent, Democrat Mark Mullet, is the target of the Republican-backed Working Families PAC. It just dropped $66,000 into a campaign against him.

What does this mean for voters? If you live in Issaquah or another hotly contested district you’re going to be getting lots of mailers depicting candidates in unflattering light.

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."