Mad scramble to get elected in 1st District

Congressional redistricting has set off a mad scramble of candidates trying to get elected either to a newly drawn district, to another that soon will no longer exist, or both.

The person elected to the new 1st District will serve a two-year term beginning in January.

The person elected in the current 1st District will serve only about a month, from the certification of the election in late November until the end of the year.

The filing period for all candidates for office in the state ended Friday.

The 1st District’s boundaries were redrawn when the state received an extra congressional seat following the 2010 Census. Other district boundaries were redrawn as well and a 10th District was added in the south Puget Sound area.

The top-two vote getters in the August primary will advance to the general election in November, regardless of party, in all elections.

The current 1st District will exist until January 2013. With its former representative, Democrat Jay Inslee, having resigned to run for governor, an election will be held to select a representative for the last month of the year.

The new 1st Congressional District runs from Redmond to the Canadian border, including all of Snohomish County east of the populated coastal areas. The current 1st District encompasses an upside-down, crescent-shaped area from Redmond to Bainbridge Island, including much of south Snohomish County.

Seven candidates are running for the new 1st District seat, 11 for the short-term seat.

Five are running for both.

They are Republican John Koster of Arlington, a Snohomish County Councilman; Democrats Darcy Burner of Carnation, who unsuccessfully ran against Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Auburn, in the 8th Congressional District in 2006 and 2008; former Microsoft executive Suzan DelBene of Bothell, who was defeated by Reichert in 2010; former state Rep. Laura Ruderman of Kirkland, and businessman Darshan Rauniyar of Bothell.

The U.S. Constitution does not require candidates to live in the district in which they are elected. Burner and DelBene don’t live in Inslee’s old district.

Candidates running only in the new district are state Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens; and independent Larry Ishmael of Redmond.

Those filing only for the one-month position are Democrats Brian Sullivan, Snohomish County Council chairman; J. Byron Holcomb, a Bainbridge Island attorney; Brian Berry of Kenmore and Ruth Morrison of Lynnwood; Republican Steven J. Gerdes of Lynnwood, and independent Bob Champion of Mukilteo.

Carin Chase of Shoreline, chairwoman of the 32nd District Democrats and daughter of state Sen. Maralyn Chase, announced plans to run for the short term but threw her support behind Burner instead.

Hobbs and state Democratic party chairman Dwight Pelz issued statements on Friday blasting Burner, DelBene, Ruderman, Rauniyar and Koster — those who filed in both races.

Hobbs said the move takes advantage of a loophole in federal law to raise double the cash for their campaigns.

Added Pelz, “Our goal was to minimize voter confusion and maximize the opportunity to elect a Democrat in November in the new 1st District.”

Earlier, some of the other candidates running for both positions said the short term would provide continuity in case they are able to win the two-year term, and also cited a budget fight shaping up in Congress that could come to a head in December.

Social Security and Medicare could be cut as a budget-reducing measure, “which is unacceptable,” Burner said.

Sullivan said Friday he is considering withdrawing. He sent out a statement targeting Burner.

“Is she implying that she is the only Democrat in the race that can fight for Social Security and Medicare over a four-week session?” he said. “Her announcement smacks more of self-promotion than an earnest concern over a vote on Social Security or Medicare.”

DelBene, in a written statement, said running for both positions “gives residents in the current 1st District a chance to have consistent representation in Congress this year, at a time when a number of potentially important votes will come up.”

There is some overlap between the current district and the new one — Redmond, Bothell, Kirkland and parts of south Snohomish County.

“We’ll be focusing on the areas where’s there’s overlap,” Burner said of her campaign.

With the district lines having shifted, longtime U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Seattle, will now be on the ballot in Edmonds and Woodway. He is being challenged by six Seattle residents, including Republicans Scott Sutherland and Ron Bemis; Democrats Don Rivers, Andrew Hughes, and Charles Allen, and Goodspaceguy, who lists his preference as the “Employmentwealth party.”

Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Everett, filed to keep his seat in the redrawn 2nd Congressional District, which no longer includes rural communities in the Cascade foothills but now encompasses Island and San Juan counties. He is being challenged by Republicans Dan Matthews of Everett, Eli Olson of Marysville and John C.W. Shoop of Conway; Mike Lapointe of Everett, who is involved in the Occupy Everett movement; and Glen S. Johnson of Mount Vernon, who lists no party preference.

Herald reporter Jerry Cornfield contributed to this story.

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