More than 100 members of the 43rd District Democrats gathered Tuesday night to endorse candidates in a handful of statewide and legislative races, including candidates running to represent Capitol Hill in Olympia and Washington D.C.
In the race for the 7th Congressional District, State Rep. Brady Walkinshaw easily walked away with the group’s endorsement, earning 73% of the vote over State Sen. Pramila Jayapal.
“This district is responsible for what allowed my husband and I to be married,” Walkinshaw said.
After falling less than one point short of earning the endorsement on the first round of voting, homeless housing advocate Nicole Macri was endorsed for the 43rd District house seat on a second vote. ““I have been at the forefront of the movement to provide housing first for homeless,” Macri said. Macri is the only woman in the race and picked up the endorsement of trans activist Danni Askini after she suspended her candidacy last month.
Scott Forbes, a longtime 43rd District Democrat organizer, garnered 27% of the vote while Seattle attorney Dan Shih took 25%.
Macri, an 11-year Capitol Hill resident, is the housing director for the Downtown Emergency Service Center overseeing housing and service programs for some 6,000 chronically homeless adults. She is also the board chair of the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance and serves on Seattle’s Housing Levy Oversight Committee. “Olympia needs more advocates and champions for affordable housing and mental health,” Macri said in the February announcement of her campaign.
The 43rd Democrats held their event in an air-conditioned auditorium on the University of Washington campus — a step-up from its usual basement confines in the U-District. The tenor of the meeting was also usually chill.
“I’ve never seen such a setting for a 43rd District Democrats endorsement meeting,” said Mayor Ed Murray.
Democrats in the district — which includes Capitol Hill, part of downtown, and several other neighborhoods — also voted 94% in favor of Proposition 1, which would expand the Seattle Housing Levy. “This is a proven answer” to creating affordable housing, Murray said while speaking for the measure. There were no opposition speakers.
To start the meeting, the group adopted a slate of endorsements for uncontested races and three ballot initiatives. The slate included House Speaker Frank Chopp for the other 43rd District house race and U.S. Senator Patty Murray.
“It’s the beginning to what we are going to do to get Democrats in the White House to the State House,” said James Apa, chair of the 43rd District Democrats.
To be eligible for an endorsement, Democratic candidates must have submitted answers to a questionnaire prior to the meting. Each candidate nominated was given two minutes to speak. Candidates needed 60% of ballots cast for an endorsement and more than one candidate per race could receive the nomination.
Democrats also voted “no” on Initiative 123, a measure that envisions an Alaksan Way Viaduct
turned into replaced by an elevated park. One opponent called the plan an “incredibly vague, irresponsible, unfunded mandate.”
43rd District Democrats made several other endorsements, including:
- Cyrus Habib for Lieutenant Governor
- John Comerford for State Treasurer
- Jeff Sprung for State Auditor
- Hilary Franz for State Public Lands Commissioner
- Erin Jones for Superintendent of Public Instruction
- Charlie Wiggins for Washington State Supreme Court
- Cathy Moore for King County Superior Court
The evening ended with a special vote. The 43rd District body recommended that the King County Democrats allow all candidates for the 43rd District State House (not just those endorsed) to walk behind the party’s banner in the Seattle Pride march.