A socialist candidate for the state House of Representatives who came in second in two different races has opted to run against Democrat Frank Chopp, the speaker of the House, in November.

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A socialist candidate who came in second in two different state House of Representatives races has opted to run against Democrat Frank Chopp, the Speaker of the House, in November.

The candidate, Kshama Sawant, who prefers the Socialist Alternative Party, had initially wanted to challenge Chopp for Position 2 in the 43rd Legislative District in Seattle, which stretches from Green Lake down to Madison Street. But she chose to run for the Position 1 seat instead to avoid challenging fellow progressive candidate Gregory Gadow.

But Gadow dropped out of the race before the primary, and The Stranger newspaper encouraged its readers to write in Sawant for Position 2. Sawant finished second in both races, allowing her to advance to the general election under the state’s “top two” primary system.

State election rules, however, don’t permit a candidate to run in two races simultaneously.

David Ammons, a spokesman for the state Secretary of State’s Office, called the situation “extremely rare.” Sawant had until Friday to choose which race she wanted to run in.

On Tuesday, Sawant, a professor of economics at Seattle University and Seattle Central Community College and an activist with Occupy Seattle, said she would face Chopp rather than state Rep. Jamie Pedersen, who holds the Position 1 seat.

Sawant said that while Chopp and Pedersen’s positions on the issues were almost identical, she chose Chopp because, as speaker, he was “much more clearly associated in people’s minds with massive budget cuts” to state social services and higher education.

Theodoric Meyer: 206-464-2985 or tmeyer@seattletimes.com. On Twitter: @theodoricmeyer.