Follow us:

UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

April 13, 2012 at 6:30 AM

What is Bobby Virk running for anyway? (And who’s paying for it?)

(Illustration by Lucas Anderson / UW Election Eye)

Democratic candidates have been juggling positions in South Seattle legislative races in a dizzying game of political musical chairs. But don’t worry, we think they’ve finally got it all figured out.

It looks like South Seattle’s diverse 11th Legislative District is going to continue its streak of diverse representatives. Democrats Bobby Virk, a dentist who immigrated from India, and Rob Holland, an African American who currently serves as Port Commissioner, are leading the charge in the race for State House.

Virk, a newer face on the political scene but not a shy one, clearly wants a job in Olympia. But he can’t seem to decide exactly which one. He began his candidacy in his old district, the 47th, which his website bio and his twitter account still reference.

But after being districted out of the 47th — candidates have to reside in the district they represent — Virk put in his candidacy for the 11th district Senate seat, which was vacated by retiring Sen. Margarita Prentice. A press release and another Facebook page later, Prentice endorsed his campaign and his new candidacy was off and running.

But then came Rep. Bob Hasegawa, who announced he was leaving his post in the house to run for the 11th district Senate seat as well. Two Asian-American candidates from the same party running in the same race in the same minority district might create some community tension.

Whether it was district unity, or Hasegawa’s years of experience as a House Representative, Virk decided to duck out and run for the very seat that Hasegawa was leaving. Hasegawa obviously approved of his rival’s exit, and endorsed Virk for the seat. Virk reciprocated and backed Hasegawa’s Senate campaign.

“It’s important we unify our community and promote diversity within the legislature to most effectively vouch for the best interest of the people in the 11th district. I appreciate Bobby’s endorsement of my bid for state senate and I am proud to wholeheartedly support his campaign as well.” – Bob Hasegawa, in a press release endorsing Bobby Virk.

Now gently settled into his candidacy for the 11th district House seat, with his campaign logo and Facebook aligned properly, Virk is finally ready to make the run against his three other registered opponents of the same party, Steven Bergquist, Stephanie Bowman, and Rob Holland, who leads the pack in endorsements and experience as Port Commissioner.

Bobby Virk

Candidate of the 11th district House seat Bobby Virk (Photo courtesy of

But with so many moves and changes, how will Virk convince his constituents he’s the right man for the job, when he himself wasn’t totally set on what job he wanted?

And what about the money?

Can he use funds he raised during his first ouse campaign in a different district or his senate campaign towards his current 11th district house bid?

According to Washington’s Public Disclosure Commission (PDC), Virk has raised a little more than $200,000 dollars, almost 10 times as much as Bergquist and 33 times as Holland.

That money, according to a representative of the PDC, is allowed to be sourced from his 47th district campaign funds because of the unique situation of redistricting, but in order to access the $23,903.95 still in his Senate campaign account, he has to get written permission from his donors to transfer the money. However, Virk’s largest donors, hotel owners from across Western Washington, have contributed individually and as a business to both campaigns. Even with all of his bouncing around from campaign to campaign, it seems Virk still has some dedicated donors.

The 11th LD – old in red, new in blue | View in a larger map

Comments | More in State | Topics: 11th LD, Bobby Virk, Campaign Finance


No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.

The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.

The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►