Democrats Franz, Randall stockpile cash in battle for US House position

Cash is flowing into campaign coffers of two Democrats dueling for an open congressional seat in western Washington.

Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz reported raising $400,000 since declaring Nov. 10 that she was dropping out of the governor’s race to run for the 6th Congressional District seat.

State Sen. Emily Randall, who jumped into the contest a week after Franz, hauled in $225,000 before Dec. 31, the deadline for fundraising in the final quarter of 2023.

Republican state Sen. Drew MacEwen, the third candidate, pulled in a little less than $4,000, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.

Meanwhile, in the 3rd Congressional District in southwest Washington, incumbent U.S. Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez ended last year with more in the bank for her reelection campaign than Republican challengers Joe Kent and Leslie Lewallen combined.

The 6th

Franz, Randall and MacEwen are competing to succeed Democratic Congressman Derek Kilmer in the district which encompasses the Olympic and Kitsap peninsulas and much of Tacoma.

Kilmer announced Nov. 9 that he would not seek a seventh term. Franz, a Grays Harbor resident, jumped in the next day with the congressman’s backing.

“I’m grateful for the strong early enthusiasm behind our campaign from every corner of the district,” Franz said in a release. “Together, we’ll bring change to the other Washington to lower costs for families, create good-paying jobs, safeguard abortion rights, and tackle the climate crisis.”

In her release, Randall of Bremerton trumpeted donations received from residents of nearly 30 cities in the district.

“As I said when I launched this campaign, I want to be a voice for the neighbors and communities that I grew up with right here in the district — our momentum shows that’s what voters here want too,” said Randall, who is seeking to become the first LGBTQ+ Latina elected to Congress.

MacEwen, of Shelton, is looking to end his party’s long losing streak in the district. He collected just under $4,000 after launching his campaign in December.

Jefferson County Commissioner Kate Dean, a Democrat, entered the race in December and withdrew the same month. She reported raising $22,500 in that period.

The 3rd

Gluesenkamp Perez, a Democrat whose unexpected win in 2022 flipped a Republican-held seat, had a big final quarter, hauling in nearly $800,000 in contributions. She’s garnered $2.9 million this election cycle and had $2.1 million on hand to start the year, according to federal reports.

Kent, who Gluesenkamp Perez beat two years ago, amassed $411,807 in the final quarter of 2023 of which $406,484 was raised by the Joe Kent Victory Fund and $5,322 for his separate congressional campaign account, according to a campaign statement.

He’s tallied nearly $1.5 million this election cycle, although it was not immediately clear Thursday how much money he had available at the start of the year.

Lewallen has raised $340,000 in the campaign, including about $120,000 in the last three months of the year. She had $140,000 on hand when the year began, records show.

The 3rd District contest will be a marquee political battle as Republicans look to regain the seat Republican Jaime Herrera Beutler held for 12 years.

Kent bested the incumbent in the 2022 primary then lost to the unheralded Gluesenkamp Perez in the district, which covers Lewis, Pacific, Wahkiakum, Cowlitz, Clark and Skamania counties and a small part of Thurston County.

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Jerry Cornfield writes for the Washington State Standard (https://washingtonstatestandard.com), an independent, nonprofit news organization that produces original reporting on policy and politics.

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