National Press Club

Politicians square off against press in annual National Press Club Spelling Bee, Sept. 27

September 12, 2018 | By Lindsay Underwood |

Relationships between politicians and the media members who cover them have been tested throughout history, but on Thursday, Sept. 27, in the National Press Club’s historic ballroom, fun and friendly competition will prevail as lawmakers and reporters compete in the uproariously entertaining Press vs. Politicians Spelling Bee.

Confirmed contestants representing the Politicians Team are Reps. Suzanne Bonamici D-Ore.), Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.).

Those confirmed in the press corner are 2017 champion and Club member Todd Gillman (The Dallas Morning News), Club Vice President Alison Fitzgerald Kodjak (NPR), Alexandra Petri (The Washington Post) and Tamar Hallerman (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution).

Former Club President Thomas Burr (The Salt Lake Tribune) will serve as the host of this year’s Bee, while Dr. Jacques Bailly, the Scripps National Spelling Bee's official pronouncer and 1980 winner of their competition, will officiate.

Doors will open at 6 p.m. and the Bee will start at 7 p.m. To purchase tickets to this event, please click here. Tickets will also be available at the door. There will be a cash bar and complimentary snacks.

The Washington press corps members are hot off of a two-year winning streak and more competitive than ever as they look to defend their title and take home another NPC Bee Champion Belt. Now tied with two victories apiece over the last four years of competition, the Politicians (who haven’t netted a victory since Virginia Democrat Rep. Don Beyer’s win in 2015) hope this year’s match-up spells R-E-D-E-M-P-T-I-O-N.

The first such event was held in 1913, with newly elected President Woodrow Wilson in the audience for the inaugural showdown, which was won by members of the House and Senate. The Press vs. Politicians Spelling Bee was reinstituted on its 100th anniversary in 2013 and has become a Washington tradition since.

Proceeds from the event support the activities of the Club’s nonprofit Journalism Institute, which defends press freedom worldwide, provides training for news professionals, and scholarships for the next generation of journalists.