The race we like to refer to as the (McDermott) Hunger Games just took another messy turn. Three current Seattle Democrat officials are vying to replace (finally) retiring Congressman Jim McDermott in the 7th Congressional District. They are State Senator Pramila Jayapal, State Representative Brady Walkinshaw, and King County Councilman Joe McDermott (no relation to Jim McDermott).
Thus far, the candidates have been rather polite to one another – though the fact that Jayapal is certainly open to attack due to the fact that she does not actually live in the 7th CD. Perhaps because they all occupy the far-Left of the political spectrum, and thus do not disagree on a whole lot, the relatively polite tone among the candidates is not all that surprising at this early stage.
But, all that began to change last week.
According to liberal blog Publicola, Councilmember McDermott is not happy with the fact that Sen. Jayapal skipped her lesgislative work – and the final vote on the state budget for a fundraising trip. As Shift reported, Jayapal was one of five senators who did not bother to show up for the vote. Instead, she was in Washington D.C. giving a speech and attending “campaign functions.”
McDermott’s campaign released the following statement:
“It is very disappointing that Senator Jayapal would skip dozens of votes in the legislature to raise money from big money donors in New York and Washington.”
Jayapal attempted to explain away her choice to prioritize her campaign to represent a congressional district that she doesn’t even live in over doing her job representing the legislative district she does live in by claiming she agreed to give a speech in D.C. long before she knew the 2016 legislative session would go overtime. There are, however, three problems with Jayapal’s excuse.
First, considering who the governor is, she should have known better than to assume session would wrap-up on time. Every year under Jay Inslee’s watch, the legislative session has featured at least one special session.
Second, Jayapal is not being entirely honest about what her speech in D.C. entailed. A Super PAC called the Asian American and Pacific Islanders Victory Fund hosted the speech. The PAC attempts to elect Asian Americans like Jayapal. It’s the PAC connection that has McDermott’s campaign calling foul. Via Publicola:
“McDermott’s camp says Jayapal’s connection to the AAPI PAC demonstrate her ties to Citizen United era secret money and outside PAC dollars—or, in an unfortunate turn of phrase, ‘dark’ money, as the McDermott press release stated. McDermott has taken a pledge to reject outside PAC money spending during the campaign.”
Third, Jayapal could have made her speech and been back to vote for the supplemental budget agreement if she really cared about representing her district. Rather than catch an evening flight to be back in time for the vote, Jayapal chose to attend a fundraiser in (as Publicola puts it) D.C.’s “yuppie” Dupont Circle neighborhood. Jayapal followed-up the D.C. event with another fundraiser in New York hosted by Manhattan socialite Claire White.
As a state official, Jayapal would have been prohibited from fundraising for her legislative campaign. However, a loophole in the law allows fundraising for federal races. Her actions, nonetheless, confirm where her priorities lie.
With McDermott making the first real attack, the (McDermott) Hunger Games is just heating up. We expect it to be an entertaining race among the liberal candidates.
So, let the (McDermott) Hunger Games continue.