Reporter tops lawmakers to win charity spelling bee
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Journalists and lawmakers faced off at the National Press Club on Thursday night for the annual Press vs. Politicians Spelling Bee with the Washington Post's Alexandra Petri winning the contest.

Petri took the winner's belt after correctly spelling the word gallica, which refers to a type of rose.

The contest came after a momentous day on Capitol Hill, which saw gripping testimony from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and from Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused him of sexual assault. The spelling bee's participants said they appreciated the opportunity to come together for a good cause.

Organized by the National Press Club, the annual event raises money for the club's nonprofit Journalism Institute, which defends press freedoms and provides scholarships for young reporters.

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“It was a really good opportunity to come down and have some fun and do some good to help support a free press at a moment when it’s more important than ever,” said Rep. Ted DeutchTheodore (Ted) Eliot DeutchShakespeare Theatre Company goes virtual for 'Will on the Hill...or Won't They?' Florida Democrat introduces bill to recognize Puerto Rico statehood referendum Matt Gaetz, Roger Stone back far-right activist Laura Loomer in congressional bid MORE (D-Fla.), a member of the lawmakers' team.

The team of lawmakers were all Democrats. Joining Deutch were Reps. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinOVERNIGHT ENERGY:  House passes sweeping clean energy bill | Pebble Mine CEO resigns over secretly recorded comments about government officials  | Corporations roll out climate goals amid growing pressure to deliver On The Money: House panel pulls Powell into partisan battles | New York considers hiking taxes on the rich | Treasury: Trump's payroll tax deferral won't hurt Social Security House panel pulls Powell into partisan battles over pandemic MORE (Md.), Suzanne BonamiciSuzanne Marie BonamiciOVERNIGHT ENERGY:  House passes sweeping clean energy bill | Pebble Mine CEO resigns over secretly recorded comments about government officials  | Corporations roll out climate goals amid growing pressure to deliver Pelosi, Blumenaur condemn 'egregious abuses of power' by Trump against Oregon protestors Federal agents deployed to Portland did not have training in riot control: NYT MORE (Ore.), and Mark TakanoMark Allan TakanoOvernight Defense: Nearly 500 former national security officials formally back Biden | 40 groups call on House panel to investigate Pentagon's use of coronavirus funds Congress missed the point when it came to helping veterans During Suicide Prevention Month, Trump needs to do more for troops' mental health MORE (Calif.).

Raskin said he wished GOP lawmakers had been able to join but said the participants were forced to cancel at the last minute.

The journalists' team, which had five members, included Todd Gillman of the Dallas Morning News, who won in 2017; NPR's Alison Fitzgerald Kodjak, Tamar Hallerman of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Petri.

It was a light-hearted affair, with Raskin joking at one point that the journalists' team name should be the "enemy of the people."

Thomas Burr, a former president of National Press Club and Washington bureau chief for the Salt Lake Tribune, said the spelling bee is a valuable opportunity to bring the media and lawmakers together.

“It’s nice on occasion to be able to prove over and over again that we are not the enemy of the people, that we are the people," he said. "We can actually have a good time and have fun, and work together raising money.”

Petri celebrated her win, which she said was a nice break from the larger events of the day.

“What I had to do was fun, and enjoyable, and words are good," she said.

"But, what was happening on the actual Hill was bleak and alarming, and courageous. And that’s 2018.”