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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, February 26, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 09
Crowded race in the 7th Congressional District
Section One
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Crowded race in the 7th Congressional District

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Candidates are lined up eight deep for the chance to succeed veteran congressman Jim McDermott in the Seattle-area 7th Congressional District. McDermott is retiring after serving in Congress since 1989.

The 7th Congressional District includes Seattle north of Madison Street, West Seattle, Vashon Island, Edmonds, Shoreline, Kenmore, and parts of Burien and Normandy Park.

The presumptive frontrunners are all already elected officials: state Sen. Pramila Jayapal (D-37), King County Councilmember Joe McDermott (no relation to the congressman), and state Rep. Brady Walkinshaw (D-43).

If any of the frontrunners is elected, it will be a historic first for the 7th Congressional District. Jayapal would be the first woman the district ever sent to Congress. Either Jayapal or Walkinshaw would be the first person of color, and either Joe McDermott or Walkinshaw would be the first Gay Congressman from the 7th.

Other candidates include Edmonds peace activist, artist, and playwright Jeff Stilwell and Seattle attorneys Andrew Ifits and Douglas McQuaid. McQuaid previously ran unsuccessfully for the Washington Supreme Court in 2012, losing to incumbent Justice Susan Owens.

Perennial candidate Donovan Rivers rounds out the field on the Democratic side. In past elections, Rivers has run for Congress against both Jim McDermott and Adam Smith.

The seven Democrats are joined by Republican Craig Keller, who lost to Jim McDermott in a landslide in 2014.

The rare open Congressional seat has also sparked a free-for-all to succeed Walkinshaw in his 43rd Legislative District seat.

Homeless advocate and low-income housing expert Nicole Macri, Gay political consultant and fundraiser Thomas Pitchford, Seattle attorney Daniel Shih, and environmental activist Sameer Ranade have filed for that race.

Walkinshaw's House seat is up for election every two years, so he had to choose whether to run for reelection or to go for the open 7th District Congressional seat.

Jayapal was elected to the state Senate in 2014, however, so she still has two years left in her term and does not have to surrender the state Senate seat to run for Congress.

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