State Sen. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, lived up to his billing as U.S. Rep Norm Dicks’, D-Belfair, heir apparent Tuesday night, winning against Bill Driscoll, R-Tacoma, to take over the 18-term Congressman’s 6th District seat in January.
“I am grateful to the voters for giving me this awesome responsibility,” Kilmer, who was introduced by Dicks, told supporters at a post-election gathering at the Hotel Murano in Tacoma
He then thanked Driscoll, whom had called earlier to concede, for a spirited campaign. Driscoll, a Marine veteran who did combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, had poured $1 million of his own timber-industry fortune into his first try at political office.
Kilmer, with his daughter Tess, 3, and wife, Jennifer, by his side, stressed he wanted to be part of a Congress that functions again, rather than the current gridlock that plagues the nation’s highest legislative body.
“It’s not going to be easy,” he said. “It’s not going to happen overnight.
Pledging to help get the economy — both in Washington state and across the nation — moving again, Kilmer said he would work to “get people back to work.”
Kilmer thanked everyone who participated in his campaign.
“We have awesome people power, and you made the difference in this campaign,” he said. “I am so proud of the positive campaign we ran.”
Kilmer’s election to the U.S. House of Representatives, which remains in the hands of the Republicans, took place amidst a celebratory mood, as attendees were in high spirits with the re-election of President Barack Obama earlier in the evening.
When a giant TV screen broadcasting MSNBC to those in attendance broke the news that President Obama had carried Ohio and put him over the top in the Electoral Vote count, the crowd erupted in a deafening cheer, with people exchanging high-fives and hugs.
President Obama’s re-election was a present of sorts for Sharon Winesberry, a 2008 Obama delegate from Steilacoom, who was celebrating her birthday.
“Words can’t explain how excited I am to see President Obama continue that journey,” she said. “Now we can move on to bigger and better things.”
Perhaps the same could be said of Congressman-elect Kilmer, who will represent the 6th District encompassing either side of the Narrows Bridge, including most of Tacoma and the Kitsap and Olympic peninsulas.
Reporter Brett Davis can be reached at 253-358-4151 or by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @gateway_brett.
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