NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Darcy Burner launches third campaign for U.S. House, joins congressional sweepstakes

Declaring that “no one is above the law – not even the rich and powerful”, two-time Dave Reichert challenger and ProgressiveCongress founder Darcy Burner formally announced this morning that she is running for Congress for a third time after spending the last few days readying her new website and confirming to friends that she’s decided to seek office again.

“I know firsthand how amazing our country is,” Burner said in a statement. “My family didn’t have a lot of money when I was growing up, but my four siblings and I were raised to believe that we could be anything if we worked hard enough.

“Previous generations had invested in good public schools for me, and that education made it possible for me to earn a college degree and start a career in business and technology. My story is a normal American story. It’s what my husband Mike and I want for our son Henry and what all families want for their children. But today, for the first time in American history, most parents don’t believe their children’s lives will be better than theirs.”

“Although our economy has doubled in size in the last fifteen years, nearly all of those gains have gone to the richest Americans, while most Americans are struggling in the wake of the current economic crisis. Outrageously, the bankers and manipulators on Wall Street whose greed caused our current crisis are raking in record profits and taking home staggering bonuses.

“I am running for Congress to fight back.”

“I will run the kind of vigorous, positive, grassroots campaign that the voters of the 1st Congressional District want and deserve,” she added.

Burner also released a memo from her pollster, Lake Research Partners, which contends that “more likely primary voters in Washington’s proposed new 1st Congressional District support Darcy Burner for Congress than support all other declared Democratic candidates combined.”

Of course, the problem with that statement is that there is no “proposed new 1st Congressional District”. It simply doesn’t exist.

Nobody knows exactly where WA-01 will be located, not even the Redistricting Commission… although its five members have a better idea than anyone else, given that they are the ones tasked with producing new boundaries.

Each voting commissioner (of which there are four) has, of course, come up with his own map. Each map specifies where each commissioner thinks the ten congressional districts should go. But those four maps are just their ideas.

The Redistricting Commission hasn’t even come up with preliminary joint plans for the congressional districts yet. The Republican and Democratic commissioners did each team up to release joint plans for the forty-nine legislative districts a few weeks ago, but even those still amount to competing plans – not a firm draft proposal agreed to by the entire commission.

It’s possible that the neighborhood where Darcy lives – which is currently in WA-08, not WA-01 – may not be in the new WA-01 at all. In fact, it’s possible that WA-01 will not include any neighborhood on the Eastside. Because Jay Inslee has declared his intention to run for governor, the Redistricting Commission is treating WA-01 as though it has no incumbent. They can move it anywhere they want to.

Slade Gorton has actually suggested renumbering all the districts in addition to redrawing the lines for the existing nine and adding in the new Tenth CD.

Now, it’s probable that WA-01 may go on the Eastside – it’s a logical place for it to go – but even if it does, it may include only part of the greater Eastside.

(To be clear, by greater Eastside, I mean the cities of Mercer Island, Kirkland, Redmond, Bellevue, Clyde Hill, Medina, Yarrow Point, Hunts Point, Newcastle, Sammamish, and points east of those cities, including Issaquah and the Snoqualmie Valley, and maybe part of the Renton Highlands).

The list of Democrats seeking to succeed Inslee was already long, and with Darcy’s candidacy, it’s now gotten longer. The field includes several current or former state legislators (Roger Goodman, Marko Liias, Steve Hobbs, and Laura Ruderman) as well as a few newcomers (Andrew Hughes, Darshan Rauniyar). In addition, Suzan DelBene, who challenged Reichert in the 8th last cycle, is contemplating running, but she has not announced a campaign yet.

Suzan, like Darcy, lives in what is now WA-08, not WA-01.

Lately, I’ve taken to describing the 2012 U.S. House races in Washington State as the congressional sweepstakes, because so many Democrats are launching campaigns, despite not knowing where our ten districts will be, or what the electoral landscape is going to look like even in a few weeks. All of the candidates seem to have the same thought… This is my year to run.

The growing field of candidates has left many Democratic activists on the Eastside (myself included) feeling overwhelmed.

Seattleites may be used to such an embarrassment of riches; but historically, the Democratic Party has had trouble finding credible standard-bearers to run in suburban districts, whether for Legislature, Congress, or local office.

But next year, Democrats are going to have the opposite problem.

As many readers are aware, I was involved in Darcy Burner’s first two campaigns for Congress (in 2006 and 2008). But I will not be involved in this one.

I made a commitment and a promise to the Democratic precinct committee officers (PCOs) of King County last year when I sought the office of Second Vice Chair. They unanimously and enthusiastically elected me to serve, and my loyalty is to them, first and foremost. As a party leader, I feel it is my duty and my obligation to remain completely neutral in contests where multiple Democrats are running… at least until the time comes to vote for a nominee.

I hope and expect that the Washington State Democratic Party, under the leadership of our Chair, Dwight Pelz, will come up with a nominating process that allows us to select nominees prior to the August winnowing election in eight months. Establishing a nominating process is the only fair and sensible way to figure out who our standard-bearers will be.

So, I have personally chosen not to take sides in the congressional sweepstakes.

Obviously, NPI will not be getting involved, either. NPI is a strategy center, not a political action committee. Although we do work on ballot measures, we do not endorse candidates or engage in electioneering for or against candidates.

We do cover electoral politics regularly here on The Advocate (as exemplified by this post) and we do talk to candidates about their campaigns – but that’s it.

I’d personally like to wish all the candidates who are running – Laura, Darcy, Steve, Roger, Marko, Andrew, Darshan – good luck with their campaigns in the next few months, and invite all of them to keep us apprised of how their candidacies are progressing. If nothing else, the 2012 congressional sweepstakes and the nominating decision that results from them will be exciting to watch.

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2 Comments

  1. Darcy’s running again!? The voters have already passed on her twice. It’s admirable that she’s determined to make it to Congress, but she couldn’t make it in either of the two big Democratic cycles (’06 and ’08). The Democratic Party should back someone else in the 1st.

    # by Abigail Cox :: November 3rd, 2011 at 11:46 AM
    • We don’t know where the 1st is going to be yet. Not all of the candidates who want to run in the 1st may be able to – unless they’re willing to move.

      # by Andrew :: November 3rd, 2011 at 4:54 PM

One Ping

  1. […] Darcy Burner launches third campaign for U.S. House, joins congressional sweepstakes […]

    Ping from Morning Rundown for November 3rd, 2011 :: November 3rd, 2011 at 9:52 AM