Hoo boy. With a vacancy opening in the legislature, the race to represent northwest Seattle is shaping up to be contest between Seattle-style moderates with money and liberals with a lot of friends.

The head of Progressive Majority of Washington State, a group that recruits liberal leaders for office, is going to herself run for office in the 36th Legislative District. Noel Frame launches her campaign today with the backing of stacks of local progressives, including do-it-all-about-town-smarty-pants Anne Levinson, state senators Sharon Nelson and Nick Harper, Representatives Jim Moeller and Laurie Jinkins, and former NARAL Pro-Choice Washington director Karen Cooper.

As the race becomes more competitive to fill the vacuum that will be left by retiring state representative Mary Lou Dickerson, the 36th District Democrats are meeting tomorrow and will hear from other candidates jumping into the race. Rumored to be running include: Sahar Fathi, aide to Seattle City Council member Mike O'Brien, and Brett Phillips, the son of King County Council member Larry Phillips. But it seems Frame's most formidable contender so far is Gael Tarleton, currently a port commissioner, who declared her bid last week with the announcement that she'd "raised nearly $20,000 in the past 48 hours."