Journalists beat the reigning champion lawmakers in the “Politicians v. Press Spelling Bee” at the National Press Club on Wednesday.
Florida Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch, the last politician standing, lost in Round 12 by misspelling “jambalaya” with a “g”, while Art Swift of Gallup won for the journalists by correctly spelling “apothecary.”
The event kicked off about 30 minutes behind schedule due to late votes in the House. The team of lawmakers — all Democrats — seemed eager to get started and defend reigning champion Virginia Rep. Don Beyer Jr.’s title. Players were eliminated after misspelling their second word.
In the third round, dubbed “Neighbors to the North,” the first participant struck out when a journalist received her second strike after spelling “Sudbury” incorrectly. She had previously misspelled “Frankfort” and let out a certain four letter word. (We won’t spell it out.)
Illinois Sen. Richard J. Durbin cringed.
Beyer was the first casualty of the congressional team.
He misspelled the word “allomorph” during the fourth round entitled “Spelling and Grammar.”
The competition was full of witty 2016 election anecdotes and playful banter from competitors at the podium.
“This is why you have staff,” Durbin said before he misspelled the word “cataphora,” leading to his elimination.
By the end of the fourth round, the press team had only five players remaining, 19 points, and while the lawmakers had four players and 17 points.
At the end of Round Five, the press team was up 23 points to 21.
California Rep. Scott Peters was the third member out when he misspelled, “congaree.” By the end of Round Six, the press had 27 points and four players and the politicians had 24 points and three players.
Members who struck out stayed for the outcome and cheered on their team.
By Round Eight, the press had 34 points and the politicians had 30. Just three players remained on both teams.
Reps. Mark Takano of California and Derek Kilmer of Washington exited after Round Ten, leaving only Deutch.
The spelling bee was sponsored by the education technology company Blackboard and officiated by Jacques Bailly, a former winner and official pronouncer of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Judges were the 2016 National Spelling Bee co-champions Jairam Hathwar and Nihar Janga.
Throughout the Wednesday night competition, #NPCbee was the top D.C. trending hashtag.
Proceeds from the event went to the National Press Club Journalism Institute, which provides education opportunities to current and aspiring journalists.