Frequently asked questions for new candidates. These questions and answers are intended to help new candidates get started off on the right foot and to help existing candidates find the information and resources they need.


Do I have to file disclosure reports?

One of two things determines what a candidate discloses. For most candidates, it’s the number of registered voters in the jurisdiction where the candidate runs for office.  How much money a candidate raises or expects to raise determines what reports are filed by someone running for office in a very small jurisdiction (less than 5,000 registered voters).

File a Personal Financial Affairs Statement and campaign disclosure reports if you are:

  • a state office candidate
  • a county office candidate (or political subdivision that encompasses an entire county)
  • a local or judicial office candidate in a jurisdiction with 5,000 or more registered voters
  • a candidate who raises or expects to raise $5,000 or more in the aggregate regardless of the number of registered voters (this includes the candidate’s own money)

File just a Personal Financial Affairs Statement if you are:

  • a candidate for local or judicial office in a jurisdiction with 2,000 or more but less than 5,000 registered voters and you do not raise or expect to raise $5,000 or more

A candidate seeking election to an office in a jurisdiction with less than 2,000 registered voters who does not raise or expect to raise $5,000 or more does not file any reports with the Public Disclosure Commission.

Must I identify all contributors?

Anyone who donates monetary and in-kind contributions totaling more than $25 over the course of your campaign must be identified by name and full address.  Plus, if an individual gives you more than $100 in the aggregate, you must show this person’s occupation and the name, city and state of his or her employer.

Do I have to file electronically?


Free E‑filing software, ORCA, is available from the PDC.  ORCA tutorials are available under its Help menu and the PDC offers training in Olympia. 

When using the ORCA software, candidates should keep in mind that campaign data from the start of the campaign must be entered in order for the software to work properly.  Like any software, there is a learning curve, so candidates and their treasurers are encourage to install the software and become familiar with it before the day the first reports are due.

Use the PDC's online help desk for assistance with electronic filing of campaign finance reports.

Can I be reimbursed for the personal funds I spend on my campaign?

Reimbursements for the candidate’s out-of-pocket campaign expenses must be made within three weeks or the reimbursement counts against the candidate’s loan repayment limit.  A candidate can be repaid up to $6,000 for primary election loans and $6,000 for general election loans.  A candidate’s contributions to his or her own campaign should be reported as loans in order to be eligible for repayment.

Are there laws governing political ads?

Yes.  Everything you need to know is explained in the Political Advertising brochure.