This Washington

Extra Fizz: 34th District Candidate Stumps in 43rd

By Chris Kissel April 27, 2010

I was at the Grey Gallery on Capitol Hill last night, at a campaign event for 34th District House candidate Joe Fitzgibbon. (The 34th includes West Seattle, Burien, Vashon, and Maury Island.)

Capitol Hill is actually in the 43rd District, but Fitzgibbon, who's 23 years old, is benefiting from his status as a young candidate—despite the fact that he doesn't talk much about his age himself. So, Capitol Hill makes sense, and the party was especially packed with twenty-somethings. Several people who attended the event jokingly called it "Hipsters for Joe."

I asked Fitzgibbon his rationale for having a campaign event in Capitol Hill, outside the 34th.

"I just had a campaign event in Vashon, and I've got another one coming up in Burien. But, [Capitol Hill] was just a central place for a lot of friends of the campaign," he said. "It's early in the campaign, and we're trying to raise money wherever there's money to be raised."

Most of the people I talked to at Grey—there were about 35 people on hand, including Washington Bus leader Thomas Goldstein—stressed Fitzgibbon's youth as a big positive. (The Washington Bus focuses on getting youth involved in politics.)

The most notable person to hype Fitzgibbon's age was his consultant, Christian Sinderman, who said he thinks "we should elect smart young people to shake things up in Olympia."

Certainly, the Fitzgibbon supporters talked about more than his age—particularly, they mentioned, sounding impressed, how up he is on the issues.

Zach Carstensen from the Jewish Federation, for example, said he thought Fitzgibbon was exceptionally knowledgeable—he told me about working with Fitzgibbon on phone banking for Dow Constantine's King County Executive race. "Joe knew about every issue. He was winning votes for Dow just by talking to people about the issues."

Still, no one I talked to at the event last night actually lives in the 34th, or knew anything much, if at all, about the other two Democratic candidates—campaign finance activist Marcee Stone and King County Council Member Jan Drago staffer Mike Heavey. (An independent candidate, Geoffrey McElroy, announced his candidacy back in February.)

Clearly, though, most were excited someone they saw as young and experienced was jumping in the race for the suburban 34th.
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