With Gov. Chris Gregoire’s announcement that there will be a special election to fill the one month gap of congressional representation in the 1st CD; created by Jay Inslee’s resignation to spend full time campaigning for governor, much speculation will be focused on possible “place holders” for the position. In a typical year when there is already an election planned in November, the winner of that election would simply be sworn in early to finish out the existing term. However, with this year’s redistricting and new district boundaries having been drawn, the issue becomes more clouded; thus the need for the special election. As Gregoire noted, “There is a misimpression … that somehow I have discretion as to whether I call an election or not. I don’t. I have to call an election. I want to make sure the U.S. House of Representatives, when we elect someone, will seat that person.” The governor’s concerns about the House seating our elected representative center on the question of which boundaries will be “lacking representation.” The likely scenario will have a person serving under the “current” boundaries from December to January when the “new” boundaries take effect.
The Existing Pool of Candidates
Of the six Democratic candidates currently seeking to represent the newly drawn 1st CD, 4 live within the boundaries of both the old and new district. For these candidates; State Senator Steve Hobbs (D – 44th LD), Rep. Roger Goodman (D – 45th LD), Laura Ruderman, and Darshan Rauniyar, There is a bit of an advantage in that their names could appear twice on the same ballot for the same position. I received the following response from Rauniyar this morning,
“…If there will be special election, I am leaning towards getting my name in the ballot.
It is important that we fill Jay Inslee’s seat as soon as possible so people in the old 1st Congressional District are represented fully and have their voices heard in Congress. We now have already lost 10 days of representation since his resignation announcement. It is unfortunate that we do not have proper procedures in place to fill the gap in time. I request Washington Legislature to work out a solution and put a process in place to address similar future incidents.”
I am awaiting response from the other candidates in the current race.
Potential Place Holders
The list of potential candidates who might be considering an opportunity to be “Congressman for a Month” is sure to be an interesting group. Assuming the race will be to represent the “current” boundaries, a couple of names immediately come to mind. State Representative Marko Liias (D – 21st LD) had originally been among the early contenders for the seat before he was re-districted into the 7th LD. Liias is considered a favorite among the more Progressive element of the party. Then there is the popular former mayor of Edmonds, Mike Cooper. Cooper has served in the state legislature from the 21st LD and on the Snohomish County Council He recently finished out the term of former Edmonds mayor, Gary Haakenson when he was tapped to be Deputy County Snohomish County Executive.Another name that has popped up is DJ Wilson. Wilson, who was recently defeated in his race for reelection to the Edmonds City Council, has been a mainstay in Snohomish County politics for some time. He currently runs a political consulting company. I chatted briefly with Mike Cooper via Facebook this morning. He told me, “It would be something I would consider and discuss with my wife. I would not get in if the frontrunners from the existing field ran.”
It seems that the level of activity surrounding the 1st just continues to grow. I will have more on this story as it continues to develop.