There is no shortage of Washington state Democrats expected to step forward in the near future to run for the seat of retiring Rep. Norm Dicks, the longtime appropriator whose announcement today caught Washingtonians on both coasts by surprise.
State Sen. Derek Kilmer, already viewed as the early frontrunner, released a statement today confirming his interest but stopped short of announcing.
“I will be seriously considering whether to run for Congress, but today should be focused on honoring Norm's record of service,” he said.
Other names floated included Kitsap County Commissioner Josh Brown, state Sen. Christine Rolfes and state Sen. Jim Hargrove.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee quickly described the 6th district as a likely hold for the party, while national Republicans in the immediate aftermath were assessing how competitive the district is with Dicks no longer running.
The district includes most of three expansive coastal counties, plus Mason County, Kitsap County, which is across the Puget Sound from Seattle, and Pierce County, where Tacoma is located.
“This is a strong Democratic district that President Obama won with 58 percent and Senator John Kerry won,” DCCC Chairman Steve Israel (N.Y.) said in a statement. “We look forward to electing a Democrat next November who will create jobs, protect the middle class and the Medicare guarantee for Washington state seniors.”
Republican insiders in the state said the district is more competitive than some may think and see a possible pickup opportunity now that Dicks is out. Potential GOP names were slow to emerge this afternoon, but business technology consultant Jesse Young, who came up short in the 2010 top-two primary, is already in the race.
There are two other open seats in the state. Rep. Jay Inslee (D) is running for governor, and his 1st district will be the most competitive in the state. The state also added a 10th district in reapportionment, which borders the 6th and has a similar Democratic lean.