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 DeutchHouse members race to prepare for first-ever remote votes Judge rules Florida can't block felons from registering to vote because of unpaid fines Trump taps members of Congress to advise on reopening MORE (D-Fla.), a member of the lawmakers' team.

The team of lawmakers were all Democrats. Joining Deutch were Reps. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinHouse holds first-ever proxy votes during pandemic Dozens of Democrats plan to vote remotely in a first for the House House members race to prepare for first-ever remote votes MORE (Md.), Suzanne BonamiciSuzanne Marie BonamiciWe need to prevent food waste at school Pelosi heading to Madrid for UN climate change convention Scientists join Democrats in panning EPA's 'secret science' rule MORE (Ore.), and Mark TakanoMark Allan TakanoHuman Rights Campaign rolls out congressional endorsements on Equality Act anniversary House committees move toward virtual hearings for COVID-19 era VA under fire as coronavirus infections among veterans, staff surge 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.”