Crowded First Congressional District Race in Washington Turns into Donner Party, Literally

Sometimes the accidental irony of actual events can beat even the snarkiest political writer to the punch.

Such appears to be the case in Washington State’s First Congressional District, a confusing electoral environment in which the unnatural occurrence of two races for the same numeric district* drew 8 hungry Democrats to compete for what will probably be a single Democratic spot on the ballot after the primary election is decided in August.

In this pre-cannibalistic setting, leading Democratic candidate Suzan Delbene invited contributors Wednesday night to come along to the ensuing Donner Party, literally.

The invitation for the Wednesday evening fundraiser to benefit Delbene’s campaign war chest (click invitation to right for enlarged image) beckoned guests to journey to a Mercer Island for a reception co-hosted by Mr. & Mrs. Bill and Toby Donner.

If you were paying attention in high school studies of America’s westward expansion, the Donner’s last name will invoke macabre visions of cannibalism of a variety far less benign than what could dominate the primary election.

In the winter of 1846, a group of pioneers known as the Donner Party became trapped in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range by historically bad blizzard conditions. Many among the fortunate survivors claimed that resorting to eating their own had allowed them to cling to life while enduring the desperate conditions.

In all likelihood, the only things devoured at Delbene’s Mercer Island Donner Party will have been canapés and cold hard cash.

The real gnashing of teeth will take place on two parallel campaign trails, two simultaneous races in which a crowded intrapartisan field (8 Democratic candidates in the special election, 4 of whom are also running in the regular election*) will work diligently to consume each other—the strong cannibalizing the weak until one (Republicans hope not two) walks out alive from the primary and into the general election.


(*There will be a special election for voters in the current congressional district boundaries to fill—for a single month—the seat left vacant by Congressman Jay Inslee’s hasty exit from office.

There will also be a simultaneous general election to determine who succeeds the winner of the special, but the victor of the general election will represent an almost completely different group of constituents than the winner of the special.)


[featured photo credit: angrylambie1]


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