Skip to main content

You make this possible. Support our independent, nonprofit newsroom today.

Give Now

Seattle Money Loves Hillary, But Bernie Raises More In WA Overall

caption: Neighbors and protesters greet Hillary Clinton's motorcade as the candidate arrives at a private fundraiser in Medina, Washington.
Enlarge Icon
Neighbors and protesters greet Hillary Clinton's motorcade as the candidate arrives at a private fundraiser in Medina, Washington.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

If campaign contributions are any indicator, Washington state is "feeling the Bern."

People here have given Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders 30 percent more money than they have to his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton through the end of February. Sanders' $2.6 million Washington war chest is more than all Republican candidates combined have received from the state.

But big money poured into the Clinton campaign this week. KUOW's investigative reporter John Ryan has the story from Medina, Washington, outside a Hillary Clinton fundraiser.

Related: Bernie Sanders Trounces Hillary Clinton In Washington Caucuses


Hillary Clinton's motorcade has just gone by. She's headed into the home of Jeff and Susan Brotman. Jeff Brotman is the cofounder and chairman of the board of Washington state's biggest corporation. That's Costco. The fundraiser has a $2,700 admission price.

Clinton has had a busy schedule. This is the money stop, here in one of the wealthiest enclaves in King County.

Nationally, Hillary Clinton has raised more money than any other candidate, Democratic or Republican. That's even though Bernie Sanders has more individual contributors. And unlike Sanders, Clinton is benefiting from the support of a well-funded, supposedly independent SuperPAC.

But here in Washington, Clinton is playing fundraising catchup as Saturday's Democratic caucus approaches.

Campaign Cash by ZIP. Select an area to see campaign contributions from its ZIP code. Includes contributions of $250 or more through Jan. 28 as reported to the Federal Elections Commission and compiled by Map by Abraham Epton for KUOW.

Federal Election Commission data show that the Medina area has favored Republican Marco Rubio financially, with Clinton coming in second.

Left-leaning Bernie Sanders has received nothing from Medina, according to the FEC.

Outside the Brotmans' waterfront home, a small number of neighbors gathered, hoping to catch a glimpse of Hillary Clinton.

Susan Lyons: "It's exciting to see Hillary come, and it's exciting, the potential to have a female president."

Lyons lives in the neighborhood and works in the tech sector. She says the influence of big money on democracy is a concern.

Lyons: "Absolutely, but I understand that that's part of the political system. There's a lot of money here in Medina, and she needs that to support her campaign. So, it's good to see the support here in Medina for Hillary."

Brandt: "It's a rich person's event, really. $2,700 a ticket. I mean, you can't get in there to ask any questions."

Christopher Brandt lives in Shoreline.

He was part of a handful of protesters from Greenpeace standing outside the Brotman's $8 million home Tuesday night.

Greenpeace is campaigning to get Clinton and other candidates to reject money from the fossil fuel industry.

Brandt: "We don't want any fracking, any drilling, any coal exports."

Candidates aren't allowed to take contributions directly from corporations. But FEC records show Clinton has taken about seven times more money from oil and gas industry employees than Sanders has. Republican Ted Cruz has taken about three times more than Clinton.

Officials with the Clinton campaign did not respond to KUOW's requests for information on the sold-out fundraiser in Medina, but a crew of valet parking attendants moved about 120 cars for the event. They filled the Medina elementary school parking lot across the street with BMWs, Mercedes and Subarus. Even if there was only one donor per car, the number of cars means the event raised at least $300,000.

2016 is expected to be the most expensive election in U.S. history, with more money pouring in trying to influence our democracy than ever before. But this event is not the most expensive even at the Brotman residence. Back in 2012, President Barack Obama held a fundraiser here. A ticket to that fundraiser cost nearly $18,000.

Why you can trust KUOW