Despite predictions that the state’s new top-two primary—which allows two candidates to progress to the general election regardless of party affiliation—might spell trouble for Rep. Jim McDermott, Seattle’s 10-term incumbent congressman still lacks a serious challenger for his 2008 run. Less serious threats to McDermott’s throne include an activist and author from Vashon Island, a bishop who grew up in Detroit, a strict constitutionalist backed by Ron Paul supporters, an NYC-bred free market advocate, and a guy who changed his name to “Goodspaceguy” to advocate for space colonization.
State Sen. Ed Murray (D-Seattle), who has previously expressed interest in McDermott’s seat, feels that top-two or not, McDermott would have to step down for Murray to make a run. “Because of the [Iraq] War, I think that McDermott is pretty solidly in place,” Murray says. “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.
In the meantime, McDermott, who tends to turn his attention to more worldly matters, has been noticeably focusing more energy lately on domestic affairs. Last month, he shepherded a bill through Congress that will extend unemployment benefits, something his office estimates will help upward of 46,000 Washingtonians. And last week, he introduced a measure to give grants to states to provide up to $500 in gas money for families that are struggling. All of which could be a nod to the threat posed by the top-two primary, even if this year’s competition isn’t so stiff.