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Washington: Democratic Candidates Defy Party in 1st District

Against the wishes of the state Democratic Party, four of the party’s candidates running for the redrawn 1st district have also filed to run concurrently in a special election being held in the seat’s old boundaries to fill the vacancy caused by former Rep. Jay Inslee’s (D) resignation.

Inslee’s decision to leave Congress in March to run for governor generated a confusing process to replace him that was further complicated by redistricting. Seven candidates filed by Friday’s deadline to run for a full term under the 1st district’s new lines. Ten candidates filed to run in the Nov. 6 special election to fill the remainder of Inslee’s term under the district lines as drawn 10 years ago.

The two districts look drastically different. The current district is strongly Democratic; the new 1st will likely be the most competitive district in the state for the next decade.

The Democrats running in both elections include Suzan DelBene, Laura Ruderman, Darcy Burner and Darshan Rauniyar. The only candidates running for a full term and not in the special are Larry Ishmael (I) and Steve Hobbs (D), who criticized John Koster (R) and the four Democrats for “trying to manipulate and circumvent campaign finance laws.”

State Democratic Party Chairman Dwight Pelz requested that the Democrats run in only the general election to avoid voter confusion. He issued a statement critical of Burner, who was the first to file for the special, leading others to follow suit.

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