Joe McDermott: A King County Council member who wants to be a congressman.
Joe McDermott: A King County Council member who wants to be a Congressman. courtesy of campaign

Joe McDermott—who was just selected to chair the King County Council—has made official what we've all been expecting: He's running for the seat in the U.S. House of Representatives currently held by Jim McDermott. (Earlier this month, Congressman McDermott announced that after 14 terms in D.C., he's retiring.)

Ever since Congressman McDermott's announcement, the local political chattering class has been whispering about who might run for the open 7th Congressional District seat. Among the many possibilities, King County Council Member and former state lawmaker Joe McDermott, 48, was a sure bet. He's long been rumored to want to run for that seat, representing much of Seattle, Shoreline, Edmonds, and Vashon Island. (And even though he's not related to the Congressman, the "name recognition" he'll get from sharing McDermott's last name won't hurt.)

In announcing his candidacy today, McDermott emphasized gun violence and campaign finance reform.

From his press release (emphasis added):

McDermott, who has the most experience of any candidate running for Congress, also announced his “Repeal Citizens United” pledge rejecting any dark money independent expenditure spending on his behalf.

“As the son of schoolteachers, I am running for Congress to ensure that middle class Washingtonians continue to have a strong voice in Washington, D.C. and that’s why overturning Citizens United and preventing dark money from destroying our politics will be my priority from my first day in office – so we can finally achieve the progressive results our families need.”

McDermott also pledged to make cracking down on gun violence a top priority. As Chair of the Seattle King County Board of Health, McDermott has led efforts to classify gun violence as a public health crisis – resulting in a program that has saved lives and has become a model for both state and federal governments.

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“For too long, politicians in Washington DC have kowtowed to the National Rifle Association. It is past time that we pass tough background checks, ban military style assault weapons plaguing our communities and once and for all hold gun manufacturers liable for the over thirty thousand deaths they cause in our country every year,” said McDermott.

Both the mention of his experience and the bit about "dark money" seem to be direct responses to the only other person who's formally launched a campaign for the seat: Brady Walkinshaw.

Walkinshaw is a 31-year-old state rep from Capitol Hill who's said he'll take no PAC contributions and has already raised about $300,000. Walkinshaw is working with prominent local political consultant Christian Sinderman, who's also helped Joe McDermott get elected in the past. Both Walkinshaw and Joe McDermott are gay. McDermott lives in West Seattle.