Jamie Pedersen, a
Seattle attorney and gay rights leader, is the
Democrats' pick for an open state house seat. Pedersen
claimed victory Tuesday in the expensive, hotly
contested six-candidate primary in the 43rd district
in Seattle. The nomination is tantamount to election in one
of the state's most liberal districts.
Pedersen was the
top vote-getter on primary night a week earlier and
padded his lead as absentees were counted. As of Tuesday, he
was 252 votes ahead of his closest competitor, former
judge and Seattle city councilman Jim Street. Street
conceded and said Pedersen has "tremendous potential."
heavily favored in November over Republican Hugh Foskett, a
college student who has raised no money, and Progressive
Party candidate Linde Knighton, who is running a
well-connected in Seattle's legal community and in local and
national gay rights organizations, has raised about $170,000
for his campaign, leading the primary pack, which
collectively raised more than $500,000.
Pedersen hopes to
succeed Rep. Ed Murray, who is in line to move to the
state senate. Both men are openly gay, and Murray endorsed
Pedersen late in the primary, saying he could best
fight for marriage equality for gays and lesbians.
Pedersen was lead attorney for Lambda Legal in the losing
bid to persuade the state supreme court to throw out the
state's ban on same-sex marriage.
election would keep at four the number of gays in the
Washington State house; if elected, Murray would be the
senate's only openly gay member. (AP)