People of SU / Society / Justice and Law

Seattle U in the news: Seattle PACs spent $4 million on the election. Who got paid?

November 14, 2019

All of those campaign mailers were not the most effective tool, says Seattle U instructor

Crosscut analyzed the $4 million in campaign spending in the run up to the Seattle City Council races. Interviewed for the story, Seattle U political science instructor Patrick Schoettmer said the money directed toward mailers could probably have been better spent elsewhere.


“At the very top of what’s ineffective is mailers,” the political science instructor at Seattle University said. “It might be more effective in vote-by-mail because you have to constantly needle people to turn in their ballots,” he added. But in general, “the money that was being put into mailers was probably not the most effective use of campaign dollars that we could have seen.”

On the other hand, television ads continue to consume a significant amount of outreach resources for PACs.

“The thing about TV is that it’s still the main information source for older voters,” Shoettmer said. And older voters vote.

In conclusion, Seattle University's Shoettmer said that, in the primary, the money served to bolster certain candidates. But, he said, in the general election, he questions why money was being spent in the way it was on races that were not, ultimately, very competitive — as in the council's Districts 1 and 2. “When it comes to the general election, the money that was being spent I don’t know that it was necessarily spent in a way that would be deemed best practices,” he said.