Capitol Hill’s Brady Walkinshaw will have his work cut out this November. The current 43rd District rep will go on to the general election this fall to battle 37th District rep Pramila Jayapal for a seat in Washington D.C. representing Congressional District 7.
Walkinshaw pulled ahead into second place in the August primary in Friday’s vote tally with 21.35% of the vote. The widening gap with Walkinshaw convinced King County Council member Joe McDermott to concede the race Friday night.
“I am excited to carry our positive progressive vision for the Pacific Northwest into the general election,” Walkinshaw said in a statement released Friday. “We need leadership that believes climate change will be a defining issue for the next generation of progressive leaders, and who will work together to deliver real results at home from transportation to housing.”
Walkinshaw said his advance to the general election shows that the 43rd District “is ready for a new generation in Congress.”
The race puts a rare opportunity on the line to represent Seattle in Congress where openings are often carefully managed to give party favorites an appointed head start on any competition. Longtime representative Jim McDermott (no relation to Joe) announced his retirement earlier this year leaving the District 7 unusually wide open.
In her statement Friday night, Jayapal emphasized the major gap Walkinshaw will need to close before November. Jayapal said she was “encouraged by her overwhelming support in the primary” that placed the candidate “20 percentage points ahead of her nearest rival.”
Walkinshaw has cited a variety of issues he wants to tackle including undoing Citizens United, passing aggressive environmental protections and imposing stricter regulations on the financial sector. Jayapal has outlined her main issues as fighting to raise the minimum wage, expanding Social Security and Medicare, clean energy, and making college debt-free.
If Walkinshaw, a 32-year-old gay Cuban-American who lives on Capitol Hill, 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.
Jayapal, a first-term senator serving the state’s 37th District, has collected endorsements from many elected officials including 2016 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, LGBTQ leaders, and representatives of other progressive organizations. Jayapal is vying to become the first Indian American woman elected to Congress.