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May 23, 2011 at 5:06 PM

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Denny Heck signals possible run for new 10th District

Posted by Jim Brunner

Democrat Denny Heck was defeated by Republican Jaime Herrera Beutler last year in his bid to represent the 3rd Congressional District of southwest Washington.

But political redistricting this year could give Heck a better shot in 2012. There is a very real possibility that the state's new 10th U.S. House District could including the Olympia area, where Heck lives.

And while media attention has focused lately on Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich's flirtation with a carpetbagging candidacy here, Heck recently took a quiet step toward running in the new 10th District.

Heck filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission last Thursday, setting up a campaign for the 10th District. He then refiled less than an hour later to say he was running for an unspecified congressional district (listing it as district "00.")

"I may have the only Freudian accountant in the state," Heck joked. He says he'd intended to have the district listed as "00" from the start to show he doesn't know where he'll be running, but the accountant initially listed the 10th District instead.

Heck says he's open to a rematch with Herrera Beutler if redistricting keeps him in the 3rd.

But clearly, as his accountant knew, Heck will have a better shot if the 3rd District is reshaped to become safer for the GOP, shedding the more Democratic-leaning Olympia area to the new 10th district.

Sounding very much like a candidate, Heck told me he is "doubly motivated" from where he was last year after seeing the direction Herrera Beutler and the new GOP House majority have gone. "I know that what I see in Congress gets me up pretty early in the morning," he said.

Heck has a long political resume. He founded TVW, the state's C-SPAN like network, served five terms in the state House and worked as Gov. Booth Gardner's chief of staff from 1989-93.

Heck isn't the only one angling for the 10th District seat already.

A lesser-known Democrat, Tom Cramer, also has filed with the FEC as a candidate for the 10th District.

Cramer, who runs a PAC dedicated to electing progressive candidates, was chatting up Democrats at Kucinich's appearance in Woodinville over the weekend.

But Cramer is from the Bellevue area, so he's banking on the new district being drawn in his neighborhood. More likely, he could wind up running in the 8th or the 1st, depending on how they get remade.

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Jim Brunner
Covers politics.

Keith Ervin
Covers the Eastside.

Andrew Garber
Covers politics and state government from Olympia.

Emily Heffter
Covers local government.

Mike Lindblom
Covers transportation.

Kyung Song
Covers politics and regional issues from Washington, D.C.

Lynn Thompson
Covers Seattle City Hall.

Bob Young
Covers King County and urban affairs.