A little less than a month to go before the state's first top-two primary. And despite predictions that the new system-- which allows two candidates to progress to the general election regardless of party-- might spell trouble for Rep. Jim McDermott, Seattle's 10-term Congressman still lacks any serious challengers.
No disrespect to any of the candidates, of course, but they simply don't have the bona fides to go the distance. There's an activist and author from Vashon Island, a Bishop who grew up in Detroit, a constitutionalist backed by Ron Paul supporters, a New York City-born former war protester, and a guy who changed his name to "Goodspaceguy" to advocate for space colonization.
Sen. Ed Murray D-Seattle, who has previously expressed interest in McDermott's seat, says his feeling is the same, top two or no top two-- McDermott would have to step down for him to make a run. "I think most importantly because of the [Iraq] War, I think that McDermott is pretty solidly in place," Murray says.
He says other potential challengers are likely thinking the same thing, though he adds that at some point the waiting simply becomes too long. "I’ve watched people who are very interested take themselves out of the running as time goes on as we all get older."
At this rate, maybe the best chance for 7th District hopefuls would be McDermott getting an appointment in an Obama Administration-- a long shot perhaps, but a situation that would create a special election. "That would be the most likely scenario if there’s going to be change in that seat in the future," Murray says, adding that he'd consider throwing his hat in.
Meantime, even without strong competition this year, McDermott, who tends to turn his attention to more worldly matters, has been noticeably focusing more energy lately on the domestic. Last month, he shepherded a bill through Congress that will to extend unemployment benefits, something his office estimates will help upwards of 46,000 Washingtonians. And yesterday, he introduced a measure to give grants to states to provide up to $500 in gas money for families that are struggling.