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Friday Jolt: No deal in the 1st Congressional special election

Democrats' hopes for an orderly affair turn into a free-for-all. Says one official: "Democratic chaos has ensued."
Darcy Burner

Darcy Burner Darcy Burner Campaign

Washington State Democratic Party Chair Dwight Pelz is blaming former ProgressiveCongress.org leader Darcy Burner, one of the five Democratic candidates running in the redrawn 1st Congressional District, for ruining his plan to have all the candidates running stand down in the simultaneous special election to fill former 1st District U.S. Rep. Jay Inlee's seat.

A bit complicated, but here's what's going on: Inslee resigned his seat in March to run full time for governor. That means someone has to fill his seat — the old 1st Congressional District — during December when his seat will be empty and before the new rep from the newly drawn 1st takes over in January. Voters in the old 1st — which overlaps with the new 1st, new 7th, and new 2nd — will all have to vote in two concurrent elections: a special election to fill Inslee's old seat (with both a primary and a general) and an election for the new 1st.

As Morning Fizz reported on Monday, Washington State Democratic Party Chair Dwight Pelz wanted to reduce the confusion by getting the five candidates running in the new 1st to agree to stand down in the special election,letting a placeholder candidate, Snohomish County Council Democrat Brian Sullivan, run unopposed for the Democrats. That way, voters in the special election wouldn't be looking at duplicate names on their ballot.

However, no deal was ever reached and Burner — a netroots star in her losing 2008 campaign against U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA, 8) — announced today (May 18) that she's running.

And to quote one Democratic spokesman: "Democratic chaos has ensued!"

“I am very disappointed that Darcy Burner chose to put her own perceived self interest ahead of that of the public by breaking ranks and filing in both races," Pelz said in an angry statement after explaining he wanted to minimize voter confusion and had reached "near consensus" with all the candidates. "I understand that the others will have no choice but to do the same.”

Two other candidates — former state Department of Revenue head Suzan DelBene and former state Rep. Laura Ruderman — sent out statements this morning saying they would run. Ruderman did not reference Burner, but DelBene, the frontrunner (moneywise and endorsement wise) did:

With another candidate who is running for the full two-year term also filing for the special election, it makes sense for the voters to now have a clear choice among the candidates who are serious about representing them for not just one month, but a full term.

Meanwhile, Ruderman's spokeswoman, Liz Berry, doesn't blame Burner, though she she said Burner's intention not to go along with Pelz was clear all along and that was a factor.

However, she says, "Laura always wanted to run [in the special] and always thought it was the right thing to do to be on another ballot."

Berry says: "If there was a deal, Laura wouldn't have backed out [of it], but there was no deal."

Indeed, as we reported on Monday: "Fizz hears Pelz has been meeting with the group of candidates ... , but hasn't yet gotten sign-offs from them all to sit out the special election."

Asked to respond to Pelz's jab, Burner spokesman Jeremy Koulish says, "Darcy and many of those we consulted with agree that where the districts overlap, confusion for voters would be greater from having entirely different candidates in the two different elections. In addition, she believes that the best way for a Democrat to hold the old seat in November is to have somebody on the ballot who will already be actively campaigning for the District and thus well-known. And because Social Security and Medicare cuts will likely be on the table, the stakes are too high to risk losing the seat to a Republican."


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Comments:

Posted Fri, May 18, 3:16 p.m. Inappropriate

How about a special runoff election in futility pitting Darcy Burner against Dino Rossi.

Posted Fri, May 18, 7:30 p.m. Inappropriate

Wait, I thought Darcy Burner's spokesman was Goldy.

Mr Baker

Posted Fri, May 18, 8:46 p.m. Inappropriate

I'm not enthusiastic about Darcy Burner, whose relentless self-promotion outruns her modest ability--but on this one, she is correct and Mr. Pelz is wrong. It would be foolish not to 'showcase' the candidate(s) who will run in the general election, trusting that the arena will be unchanged and welcoming later in the year. Any hard-charging, self-promoting, lifetime-politician-wannabe could have told him that!

Seneca

Posted Fri, May 18, 10:44 p.m. Inappropriate

Yikes!! This is going to be fun to watch.

Darcy Burner must be very peeved that her entitled ride to this temporary seat, the next one and finally to take over from Patty Murray in the Senate now looks a bit hard to secure.

Skippy

Posted Fri, May 18, 11:44 p.m. Inappropriate

I knew there was a good reason I just didn't like Darcy Burner.

Posted Sat, May 19, 2:55 p.m. Inappropriate

Democratic chaos? Exactly! Democracy is *supposed* to be messy, you know, debate, dissent, and all that. How dare she buck The Party Discipline.

Godwin

Posted Sun, May 20, 6:57 p.m. Inappropriate

Since losing her race a few years ago, Darcy has been hard at work in DC fighting for what she believes in. I'd prefer a fighter over someone who's 'likeable'. I want someone who wants to win rather than just go along and get along. No doubt Pelz is peeved because now there might actually be a race and debating of the issues. And we all know how the party leaders don't like that.

I agree with Godwin. Democracy is supposed to be messy. There's supposed to be debate. The problem is that there never has been. Hopefully Darcy will shake it up a bit.

Posted Mon, May 21, 5:40 a.m. Inappropriate

Darcy has never demonstrated the ability to work with anyone who is not as "progressive" as herself. If elected, What exactly would Darcy accomplish? How would Darcy build concensus among people she regularly insults? Like President Obama the "Republican". Darcy is not likeable, because she is a self-centered egotist, who has policy ideas that would bankrupt the country. She has no record of service in the community because Darcy isn't about serving others, working in a colaborative process and actually getting thing done, Darcy is about Darcy.

Cameron

Posted Mon, May 21, 11:27 a.m. Inappropriate

Well, maybe she should present herself as the answer to the Tea Party, take no prisoners, compromise with no one. The Republican party presents that as an asset.

Look at John Boehner. He's ready to bankrupt the country and take our credit rating with him, thanks to the pressure from the Tea Partiers. Compared to the current crop of Republicans, the bar for candidates is pretty low. Having a House Speaker that doesn't spend half his time in a bar might help our country too.

Posted Tue, May 22, 5:24 a.m. Inappropriate

Perhaps you should run her campaign. Is John Boehner running in the 1st District? If you can't defend based on fact, deflect.

Cameron

Posted Tue, May 22, 5:33 a.m. Inappropriate

"Talking facts is pointless because your only response is, "Look at Obama, look at Obama. Look, what he did!" That's why the Republican party is so dangerous for our country right now. It holds itself to no legal standard and its members are very aggressive in defending any behavior of any elected Republican official." Richard are you being hypocritical? You do recall posting this..right?

Cameron

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