All the way at the end of the agenda for last night's meeting of the 36th District Democrats in Phinney Ridge—past the pressing motion to declare that money is not speech (Yes We Can strike down Citizens United in a community center basement via Roberts Rules of Order!), past the executive board business and the PCO business and the redistricting business (and the amusing news of which hard-core 36th members have suddenly been redistricted out of the group), past the snack table about a million times in order to keep yourself awake—came the main event:

A series of two-minute speeches by eight people who appear to have been caught up in a giant political dragnet ("Round 'em up! Bring 'em all in! Every last one!") launched to fill the seat of retiring State Representative Mary Lou Dickerson.

Brett Phillips
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  • Brett Phillips

First up, as determined by a random number generator employed by endearingly nerdy Chairman Jeff Manson:

Brett Phillips, son of King County Councilman Larry Phillips, self-described fourth generation resident of the 36th, unstoppable floor pacer, friend of labor and women's rights (what a bold and brave thing to say in the 36th!), elected PCO (political experience!), and current Sustainability Director for Seattle-based Unico Properties (so sustainable!). Phillips was the first of many candidates who simply could not handle the two-minute limit imposed by the group's Permanent Subcommittee on Time Limits and Nonbinding Resolutions. Poor form, people.

Noel Frame
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  • Noel Frame

Next, Noel Frame, former PCO, mother, head of Progressive Majority of Washington State, and "someone who did not come from a family of means or influence.” She has been called—called! and most certainly by a non-denominational, non-sectarian, totally inclusive higher power!—to enter this extremely crowded field and destroy all who unwisely stand in her path. “I feel called to step out from behind the curtain," Frame said, "and take this fight.”

John Burbank
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  • John Burbank

Not running: John Burbank, who rose to say that lots of people had asked him but... “I have to think about where I can be of use.” Also: “We have some really great candidates who are running for office. This is really terrific.” He didn't say which of the many candidates he included in that "some."

Brian Haller
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  • Brian Holler

Enter Brian Holler, who I've never heard of but is pro-education (another brave stand in the 36th!) and says: "I’m a Democrat. I come from working class Democrats." He was not able to work out how to give a pitch in two minutes, however.

Gael Tarleton
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  • Gael Tarleton

Then there's Gael Tarleton, who declared “The race is on" and "This is great.” Also: “Olympia needs more advocates who can effectively articulate the progressive message. I am ready to go.” She's the president of the Northwest Progressive Institute, a veteran of the port commission, and has been endorsed, she noted, by a bunch of lady state reps (Orwall, Maxwell, Clibborn) plus Seattle City Councilmember Jean Godden. She's a professional at this two minute business, and easily kept from pressing the boundaries of her allotment.

Evan Clifthorne
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  • Evan Clifthorne

Next, Evan Clifthorne, aide to gay-marriage-opposing State Senator Paull Shin. Clifthorne didn't address the gay marriage issue last night—though he might soon—and instead talked about his experience in Olympia and his ability to “hit the ground running.”

Nick Cail
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  • Nick Cail

Are we done yet? Almost! Second-to-last was Nick Cail, Corporate Giving Manager for the 5th Avenue Theater. (Which means he knows where the money's hidden! Watch out "I come from working class Democrats" losers!) Cail had just finished talking about his kids, and was desperately trying to turn the corner to how they inspired him to run, when—TIME! His last words: "Wow, two minutes fly, guys."

Sahar Fathi
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  • Sahar Fathi

And finally, Sahar Fathi. “As far as I can tell, I would be the first Iranian American to serve in any state legislature,” she said, to a smattering of applause. She talked about bringing diversity to our very non-diverse state legislature, spoke about actually representing the interests of poor and working class Washingtonians, and then, mercifully, inspiringly, and just before two minutes had passed, said: “My name is Sahar Fathi, I am not out of time, and I’m running for the 36th District.”

NOW. Using our infallible and non-toxic Slog polling mechanism, let's determine: