DelBene ran against Reichert in 2010, after Burner said she wouldn't run. Democrats believe DelBene would finance much of her own campaign, freeing the party of the prospect of ponying up money that could be better spent elsewhere.
"DelBene can write a check and win it," said one Democratic consultant who is unaffiliated in the race. "She is a really nice person, just not terribly inspiring."
Washington State's unusual primary system will send the top two vote-getters from the August 7 contest, regardless of party. The district, which includes much of Seattle's northern suburbs, gave President Obama 56 percent of the vote. But there are enough Republicans in the district to send former Snohomish County Councilmember John Koster (R) to the general.
Some Republicans believe the district is more competitive than presidential election results suggest. Former Sen. Slade Gorton, one of two Republicans who sat on the state's redistricting commission, claims the seat is the most evenly-divided in the country. Democrats, for their part, privately admit they are happy the seat is open in a presidential year, when higher turnout should favor their candidates, rather than in an off year.