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Nearly $6 Million And Counting For Wash. Fall Ballot Measures

Elaine Thompson
AP Photo
Petitions for Initiative 594 are counted at the Secretary of State's office Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, in Olympia, Washington.

Washington’s November election will decide three statewide ballot measures. So far, nearly $6 million has flowed to these campaigns, and it’s still early.

Initiative 594 to expand background checks for gun sales is far out in the lead when it comes to fundraising. So far, nearly $3.4 million raised with recent $500,000 contributions each from Paul Allen, Bill Gates and Melinda Gates. Plus, venture capitalist Nick Hanauer just contributed $1 million.

Second in the fundraising race is Initiative 1351 to reduce class sizes. It has raised $1.5 million, mostly from the Washington Education Association.

In third place is Initiative 591. This is the dueling background check measure funded by pro-gun groups. So far, they’ve raised just over $1 million.

By Washington ballot measure standards these are still modest numbers. Last year, the battle over GMO-labeling drew more than $40 million in spending.

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." Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin worked as a television reporter in Seattle, Portland and Boise. Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. Austin’s reporting has been recognized with awards from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated and the Society of Professional Journalists.