A vice president for RealNetworks worth about $35 million, Cantwell vowed to spend more time with voters than with big-time donors, rejecting political-action-committee (PAC) contributions and the Potomac cocktail-party circuit.
Now seeking re-election, Cantwell retains her no-PAC pledge, but instead of remaining aloof from the hunt for campaign dollars, she has become one of the most prodigious fundraisers in the U.S. Senate.
The story also alludes to the mostly forgotten fact that Cantwell, who first ran on her personal fortune, ran into debt troubles when the tech market tanked in the late nineties, leaving her $1 million in debt. Immediately after her election, Sen. Hillary Clinton held a fundraiser for her inviting the D.C. elite:
Politicians and donors sipped white wine and nibbled hors d'oeuvres under a white tent in the backyard of Senator Hillary Clinton's mansion just off Embassy Row. They listened to good words spoken about a new colleague from across the country.