Seattle mayoral candidate is putting democracy through a stress test

Money in politics is booed, but we also vote for whoever has the most just about every time. Now one candidate is trying to get elected without the mother’s milk of politics.

At a recent cattle call for the Seattle mayoral candidates, it was clear what the least popular thing was.

Money. Sinful money.

The folks vying to run the city were asked if they’d taken campaign cash from any corporations, developers or donors who don’t live in the city. Most checked at least one of these boxes, and then proceeded to hem, haw and cop a plea to the crowd like the guilty before Judge Judy.

The top money-raiser, former U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan, got flat-out booed when she claimed she didn’t really know who donated to her $190,000 war chest.

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“It was so awkward — I just loved it,” one candidate told me later. “I was up there with a big grin on my face.”

The grinner is Bob Hasegawa, a state senator who lives on Beacon Hill. It’s up to you voters to decide if he’s smiling because he’s principled, or because he’s crazy. Maybe a bit of both.

Hasegawa is the sole major candidate for mayor who hasn’t received any money, in big or small packages, from anyone. And he probably won’t by the time ballots are mailed out in mid-July for the August 1 primary.

He’s trying to do what conventional wisdom says is impossible: win a campaign in a district of 700,000 people with no money.

“I went around to the political consultants in town, and they all said it would take at least $500,000,” Hasegawa laughs.

That’s what former Mayor Mike McGinn spent last time — to lose. The current mayor, Ed Murray, spent nearly $900,000.

So far Hasegawa has spent just $274 — to make blue duct-tape stickers to retrofit his old “Hasegawa for State Senate” yard signs so they’ll read “Seattle Mayor” instead.

Durkan has outspent him 160 to 1 so far, almost all on…

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