While there was initially some doubt that his stunt would work, Libertarian Party Senate candidate in Washington state Bruce Guthrie managed to meet the stated rules for getting invited to a candidate debate by lending $1.2 million of his own money to his campaign. Thus, he will be appearing at an Oct. 17th debate sponsored by local TV station KING-5, the Seattle Times, and a gaggle of other local media and civic organizations.
He'll be up against incumbent Democrat Maria Cantwell and Republican challenger Mike McGavick. Cantwell has been leading 8-10 percent in the polls. Guthrie needed to have gathered at least 10 percent of what the previous winner, Sen. Patty Murray, has gathered, which was $12.1 million in third quarter 2004.
Interestingly, Guthrie's move opened up a chance under America's absurd and highly restrictive campaign finance laws for his Republican opponent to gather more money than he would otherwise be legally able to do; see the complicated rules of the FEC's "millionaires' amendment." As the Seattle Times explained it,
McGavick would be able to ask donors who gave the maximum $4,200 for an additional $2,100 until he raised a total of $840,000. After that, the lower limit would go back into effect.
Cantwell, because she has more money in the bank, would not be allowed to raise money over the contribution limits.