SEATTLE -- The Legislature's adjournment early Wednesday is good news for Attorney General Rob McKenna's gubernatorial campaign coffers.
Starting Thursday, McKenna can start raising cash again. And despite constraints on fundraising, the Republican candidate has been able to keep pace with Democrat Jay Inslee.
"We knew the Legislature would someday eventually adjourn," said McKenna's spokesman Randy Pepple. "We're happy to start talking to voters again about Rob McKenna," Pepple said.
Lawmakers adjourned early Wednesday after being in session for about four months, including three overtime stints since late November.
Under state law, McKenna can't raise money while legislators are in Olympia. Meanwhile, Inslee has been free to fundraise.
According to Public Disclosure Commission filings, Inslee's camp raised more than $550,000 from cash contributions in March.
"Jay had a great month in March. We look forward to keeping that momentum going," said Inslee's spokeswoman Jamie Smith. "We anticipate (McKenna) will see a bump when he comes out of the freeze. That doesn't change our plans moving forward."
McKenna managed to collect nearly $270,000 in the brief window in between the regular and special sessions.
Inslee reported having $2.7 million cash, while McKenna has just over $2 million. In total, Inslee has raised $4.8 million and McKenna has raised $4 million, the PDC filings show.
While McKenna trails Inslee by about $800,000 in total money, the Republican candidate's camp is trumpeting that he has not received any money so far from the state Republican party.
Without party cash, Inslee has raised $4.2 million, including transfers from his congressional account.
Smith said that by the end of the race, both candidates will have received money from their respective parties and outside groups.
Pepple said he'd expect money from the Republican party later in the race, but "the McKenna campaign won't be dependent on party support to prop up poor fundraising figures, like Jay Inslee is right now."
The new fundraising reports and costs of a special election to replace Inslee sparked a spat on Twitter between Republican state party spokesman Josh Amato and his Democrat counterpart Benton Strong that spanned four hours Tuesday.
Amato said Inslee should reimburse the costs of holding a special election. Strong and the Democrats have disputed the cost estimates by three counties -- about $770,000 -- because the special election will be held at the same time and on the same ballot as the regular November election.