Third-party ads and contributions intensify in the mayoral race

300,000 ballots are headed for mailboxes around the city right now.

Spokane’s elections are less than three weeks away, and campaign ads have ramped up in both intensity and frequency as election night inches ever closer.

For months, candidates Nadine Woodward and Ben Stuckart have pushed for votes – but nothing may have a bigger impact on these votes than third-party organizations.

Just three weeks before the election, the Citizens for Liberty and Labor PAC has put down another $42,000 against Woodward’s campaign, which now totals around $171,000 in just a week. That money is not controlled by either campaign, but it does become a talking point in advertisements.

“I have no solutions to propose right now, because those solutions are not mine,” Woodward was quoted saying in a Citizens for Liberty and Labor PAC video on YouTube.

The Washington Realtors Association PAC, on the other hand, has spent about $173,000 of their own in support of Woodward.

Now, the question remains – how does a campaign cope with negative advertising before an election?

4 News Now reached out to Woodward for an interview, but she was unable to sit down with us. Her campaign did follow up, however, saying, “Nadine is focused on bringing our city the Spokane solutions that voters want.”

Among those solutions, according to the campaign, is an increased focus on public safety, working with regional partners for economic development and decreasing homelessness.

Stuckart, alternatively, does not agree with how much money can be given out during elections.

“I just keep doing what I’m doing,” Stuckart said. “The Citizens United decision at the federal level really opened up the floodgates on independent expenditures. We’ve tried through our own election’s reform efforts, how much money people can give locally – but you can’t do anything about those independent expenditures.”

With less than three weeks in this election cycle, he said he is focused on the Spokane housing crisis. “I’ve talked from the beginning about how our neighborhood business centers are where we need density,” he said. “And [we] need those walkable neighborhoods, and it’s how we create Spokane.”

“You can’t invest in our neighborhoods and outside of the city at the same time,” Stuckart added.

There is even more money going around – in the form of funds the candidates actually control. Currently, Woodward’s campaign has raised about $258,000, and Stuckart’s campaign has raised closer to $268,000.