OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Ignoring her party leader, political activist and Democratic candidate Darcy Burner is planning to run in both a special election for the seat vacated by former U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, as well as the newly redrawn district that has already drawn several other Democratic challengers.
Burner's campaign announced Friday morning that she would seek the one-month term in addition to running the regular election. That decision comes even though the state Democratic Party earlier announced their preference for the candidate in the special election as Brian Sullivan, a Snohomish City councilman.
Burner said voters, not the Democratic party, should decide who runs in the First Congressional District.
It's fair to say the head of the state Democratic party is not happy. Dwight Pelz tried to get all his First Congressional candidates on board with his plan. But Burner refused and as she broke ranks Friday, it all fell apart.
“I am very disappointed that Darcy Burner chose to put her own perceived self interest ahead of that of the public by breaking ranks and filing in both races," Pelz said in a statement.
"I understand that Dwight wanted the decision to be made in a cigar smoke filled room, I disagree, I think voters should get to decide," Burner told KING-5.
Several candidates are running in the regular election for the seat being vacated by Inslee. Democrats include former state revenue director Suzan DelBene, businessman Darshan Rauniyar, state Sen. Steve Hobbs, and former state Rep. Laura Ruderman. John Koster is the only Republican in the race; Larry Ishmael is running as an independent.
Hobbs declined to run in both races as did Ishmael. But DelBene, Ruderman and Rauniyar jumped in both.
"We need to be on an equal footing with all of the candidates who are running in the first, new district," said Rauniyar.
"We all know the old Will Rogers quote, I don't belong to a organized political party, I'm a Democrat," said Ruderman.
Ruderman actually lives within both the old and new 1st district boundaries. Burner however, lives in the new 1st, but is outside the old 1st. By law, members of Congress only have to live in the state they represent, not the specific district.