The U.S. House seat from reliably liberal Seattle doesn’t come open very often. Rep. Jim McDermott, who announced he won’t run for a 15th term, has held the seat since taking over from Mike Lowry in the 1988 election.
It’s an attractive prospect for Seattle’s liberal politicians. The job comes with a nice paycheck, and so long as you toe a sufficiently (radically) liberal line for the party, presumably an incumbent can hang on to the job for as long as they want – accomplishments and actual influence not required.
Apparently the paycheck and easy-breezy re-election prospects weren’t quite enough to lure state Sen. David Frockt into the race. Publicola published a Facebook post from Frockt in which he says he tried to rationalize saying yes to the race but ultimately couldn’t imagine being a “jet in father” to his twin 12-year-olds. Publicola then speculated about the most likely candidates still circling the race:
“That leaves former U.S. attorney Jenny Durkan, state senator Pramila Jayapal (D-37, Southeast Seattle), and King County council member Joe McDermott (no relation) as the well-known politicians most likely to jump in. Socialist council member Kshama Sawant, another big name that pundits thought might jump in, has said she’s not running.”
One reason the race might not be as attractive, despite its obvious advantages: the prospect of serving in a Democratic House minority, perhaps for a long time to come, doesn’t sound all that fun. Flying back to D.C. frequently has more appeal when you actually have some influence when you get there.