Local "Indivisible" activists have endorsed Democrats Jason Rittereiser and Kim Schrier in the pivotal 8th Congressional District race to succeed retiring Republican Rep. Dave Reichert.

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A coalition of liberal “Indivisible” activist groups has endorsed two Democrats in Washington’s closely watched 8th Congressional District race: former prosecutor Jason Rittereiser and pediatrician Kim Schrier.

The dual nod by the district’s six Indivisible chapters further solidifies Schrier and Rittereiser’s positions as the front-runners among Democrats in the 8th District contest. Former public-health official Shannon Hader also was considered, but was eliminated in a first round of voting, according to a news release from the Indivisible groups.

The Democratic rivals are competing to advance past the August primary to take on the likely Republican standard-bearer, former state senator Dino Rossi, who is making his fourth run for major political office. Rossi so far has no competition on the GOP side and has shot out to a big fundraising lead.

The 8th District has never sent a Democrat to Congress, but the party sees an opportunity to flip the seat in the 2018 midterms, with the retirement of incumbent Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Auburn.

Hundreds of activists participated in the endorsement vote, which was conducted electronically, said Indivisible spokesman Bob Clough in an email. Voting was limited to voting-age people in the 8th District who’d been members of one of the local chapters as of Feb. 1. The group has organized across the district, which spans the Cascade Mountains, from Auburn and Issaquah to Ellensburg and Wenatchee.

Rittereiser received more votes in a runoff with Schrier — 58 percent to 42 percent. But he’d have needed to receive more than two-thirds of the vote to earn a sole endorsement.

While not as well-established as major labor unions, environmentalist and women’s groups which typically play big roles in Democratic politics, the Indivisible activists are bringing energy akin to the conservative tea-party movement in the 2010 elections. The activists have organized regular protests

“We’ve shown our stamina over the past year of fighting against Donald Trump and holding our elected officials accountable to the point where our Republican Congressman decided not to run again,” Chris Petzold, founder of Indivisible Washington’s Eighth District, said in a statement. “We look forward to this new chapter and we’re ready to put our boots on the ground here in the eighth.”

The national Indivisible movement started after President Donald Trump’s election, with a group of former congressional staffers writing an online handbook suggesting effective tactics for resisting the new administration and the GOP majority in Congress. The effort took off, and the group now has thousands of volunteer chapters across the country.

Its national umbrella organization has raised nearly $6 million, largely through small-dollar donations through its website, The New York Times reported in October.