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New Member: Jayapal Succeeds McDermott in Washington’s 7th District

McDermott is retiring after 14 terms in Congress

Jayapal will succeed Democratic Rep. Jim McDermott. (Photo courtesy Pramila Jayapal Facebook page)
Jayapal will succeed Democratic Rep. Jim McDermott. (Photo courtesy Pramila Jayapal Facebook page)

Democrat Pramila Jayapal will defeat fellow Democrat Brady P. Walkinshaw in Washington’s 7th District, The Associated Press projects. 

Jayapal led Walkinshaw 57 percent to 43 percent with 65 percent of precincts reporting. 


Jayapal will succeed incumbent Democratic Rep. Jim McDermott who is retiring after 14 terms. 

The race pitted two Democrats against each other because of Washington’s Top Two primary system, where the top two vote-getters in the September primary advance to the general election, regardless of party.

Washington’s 7th District includes most of the city of Seattle and its inner suburbs. Democrats regularly dominate the district in all races — and McDermott was no exception. First elected in 1988, he won his last re-election race in 2014 with 81 percent of the vote. In 2012, President Barack Obama received 79 percent of the vote. 

[Jim McDermott Announces Retirement]

Coming into Election Day, the race was rated Safe Democrat by The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call.

Jayapal is is a Washington state senator and is the first woman of South Asian ancestry elected to the House. She was born in India and came to the U.S. at age 16 to attend Georgetown University. She later joined the brokerage firm Paine Webber, where she worked on leveraged buyouts.

“It was a great experience for me,” she told a campaign debate audience, “because it really taught me what I did not want to do, and it drove me to working for social justice for the next 25 years.”

[Pramila Jayapal Says She Respects Kaepernick’s Anthem Protest]

Jayapal is an outspoken progressive who sees herself as a catalyst for making Congress more accountable to those disenchanted with politics and government.

She is critical of what she calls “the prison-industrial complex that keeps people in jail,” and opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. She is also in favor of raising the minimum wage and increasing Social Security and Medicare benefits.

Contact Bowman at and follow her on Twitter @bridgetbhc.

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