With one week to get your ballots in for the primary election, Capitol Hill’s Brady Walkinshaw is looking forward to seeing the results on August 2nd as the Democrat hopes to go through to November in the race for Congressional District 7.
“It’s a close race, but we feel good about where we’re heading,” the current 43rd District state representative told CHS.
Walkinshaw, who was appointed to the state House in 2013, may have been the first candidate to announce he was running for the District 7 seat, but he wasn’t the last.
Eight other candidates are vying for the seat left wide open after Democratic Congressman Jim McDermott announced he would not be seeking re-election after 28 years in office. In the race for McDermott’s seat, Walkinshaw broke rank and tossed his hat in the ring prior to the announcement, a risky move that gave him an early jump on the competition.
Voters will send the top two candidates on the primary ballot to the November election.
Measured by endorsements and funds raised, the battle comes down to two candidates — Walkinshaw and state Sen. Pramila Jayapal.
Walkinshaw said one of the strengths of his campaign is the dozens of endorsements he has collected from elected officials. He has also been endorsed by many community leaders, and on Friday the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund and the Latino Victory Fund both gave him nods of approval.
If Walkinshaw, a 32-year-old gay Cuban-American, is elected in November, he would be the first openly gay member of Congress from the state and the first Latino Democrat from Washington elected to a federal office, according to an announcement from the two organizations.
However, Jayapal, a first-term senator serving the state’s 37th District, has collected endorsements many elected officials as well, including 2016 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, LGBTQ leaders, and representatives of other progressive organizations.
Walkinshaw thinks editorial board endorsements — he got the thumbs up from the Seattle Times while The Stranger endorsed Jayapal — will play a big role in the race.
The Times wrote in a July 11 editorial that Walkinshaw has the “temperament, pragmatic instincts and drive to squeeze legislation out of the gridlocked Congress.”
Walkinshaw has a variety of issues he wants to tackle including undoing Citizens United, passing aggressive environmental protections and imposing stricter regulations on the financial sector.
He is also focused on the working together — the House member has moved state legislation forward with bipartisan support — and looking to the future of urban America.
“I’ve been very supportive of how we can create more density in the right places in our city,” he said “I believe Capitol Hill is one of those environments where we’re going to see continued growth.”
Walkinshaw has been sharing his message through TV ads and a grassroots mailing effort reaching nearly 30,000 people through individual connections throughout Capitol Hill and the 7th which covers most of Seattle, all of Vashon Island, Edmonds, Shoreline, Kenmore, and parts of Burien, and Normandy Park.
Jayapal, who immigrated from India to the U.S. with her parents when she was 16, has outlined her main issues as fighting to raise the minimum wage, expand Social Security and Medicare, become a clean energy economy and make college debt-free.
According to the Federal Election Commission, Jayapal leads in funds at more than $1.28 million, while Walkinshaw has raised more than $888,000.
Walkinshaw thinks most voters in District 7 are just now starting to consider the different candidates running for the seat and are beginning to make up their minds.
“I feel like we’ve run a really positive campaign, but of course we’re excited and eager to see what happens on August 2nd,” he said.
King County Council Chair and former state Rep. for Washington’s 34th District Joe McDermott, no relation to Jim, has also raked in some endorsements from state, county regional city elected officials.
McDermott wants to ensure the middle-class has a voice, fight the big-money campaign-finance system and crack down on gun violence. He has raised more than $425,000.
Other candidates include:
- Scott Sutherland, a Republican, who is running to promote renewable energy technologies;
- Don Rivers, a Democrat, who describes himself as a long-time activist and advisor to elected officials, law enforcement, clergy and residents
- Leslie Regier, no party preference, who supports the STEM fields and space exploration
- Craig Keller, a Republican, who says he will be a “fighter against illegal immigration corruption”
- Arun Jhaveri, Democrat and former mayor of Burien who would bring his scientific knowledge to Congress
- • Carl Cooper, no party preference, is concerned about financial inequality, according to the voters’ pamphlet.