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.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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3 replies on “Darcy Burner launches third campaign for U.S. House, joins congressional sweepstakes”

  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.

    1. 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.

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