Congressional incumbents cruising to general election

Congress may be unpopular but voters in Tuesday’s primary showed plenty of support for Snohomish County’s three incumbent members of the House of Representatives.

Democratic U.S. Reps. Suzan DelBene in the 1st Congressional District, Rick Larsen in the 2nd District and Jim McDermott in the 7th District each led by a wide margin after the initial round of ballot counting.

But in what might be the most stunning development Tuesday, Republican Pedro Celis, viewed as the GOP’s best chance at unseating DelBene, is in danger of not advancing to November.

1st Congressional District

Freshman Congresswoman Suzan DelBene, the only Democrat in a field of seven, garnered 51.7 percent of the votes Tuesday securing her spot on the November ballot.

But it may be a few days before she knows who will oppose her.

Republican Scott Sutherland, a retired scientist and Granite Falls resident, held down the second spot with 15.9 percent, followed by Celis with 15 percent. There are 632 votes separating the two.

Celis’s performance may be the most startling. The former Microsoft engineer and onetime chairman of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly had been recruited by Republican Party leaders and touted as the GOP’s best shot at unseating DelBene.

He had raised $400,000 for the campaign, the most of any candidate after DelBene, though he had not spent a lot in the primary. Sutherland, on the other hand, raised $4,700.

DelBene said the low turnout made it hard to predict how any one would fare.

“At this point, nobody should be stunned,” she said. “Who I am running against doesn’t change what my campaign is going to be about.”

Republican John Orlinski is fourth with 10.2 percent followed by Republican Ed Moats with 4.3 percent, Richard Todd, who is not aligned with any party, with 1.8 percent and Mike the Mover of the National Union Party with 1 percent.

DelBene is seeking her second full term representing the district, which stretches from suburbs in northeast King County to the Canadian border. It takes in parts of Snohomish County east of I-5 including Darrington, Lake Stevens, Mill Creek, Monroe, Snohomish and Sultan

The 52-year-old Medina resident said she has fulfilled her 2012 pledge to find bipartisan solutions to problems such as immigration reform, agriculture and reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank.

DelBene is pro-abortion rights and backs increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. She supports Obamacare but also backs revisions such as expanding tax credits for small businesses.

Sutherland, 54, wants Obamacare repealed and the nation’s borders secured against people crossing them illegally before there is talk of reforming the nation’s immigration laws. He opposes gay marriage and abortion.

2nd Congressional District

U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen will face the challenge of Republican B.J. Guillot this fall as he seeks an eighth term representing the 2nd Congressional District.

Larsen collected 56.5 percent Tuesday followed by Guillot with 32.2 percent and Mike Lapointe, an independent, with 11.3 percent.

The 2nd Congressional District encompasses all of Island and San Juan counties, plus western Skagit, Whatcom and Snohomish counties. It includes the cities of Everett, Marysville, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace, Mukilteo, Arlington and Stanwood and the Tulalip reservation.

If re-elected, Larsen said he wants to push for a long-term transportation bill, enact comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for those undocumented immigrants now living in the United States, and overturn the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case which eliminated many restrictions on corporate financing of elections

Guillot, a product manager at a software company, serves on the Marysville Library Board. He said he will focus on stopping the National Security Agency from spying on citizens, overturning the Affordable Care Act (also called Obamacare), and securing the borders and enforcing immigration laws.

Guillot also said there were elements of Obamacare that he liked, such as the prohibition against insurers denying coverage for pre-existing conditions and allowing young adults to remain on their parents’ policies until age 26. Those elements should be put into separate legislation to replace Obamacare, he said.

Larsen had $386,486 in cash on hand as of July 16 while Guillot had not reported any contributions. The Federal Election Commission requires regular reporting of contributions once a candidate raises $5,000 in an election cycle.

7th Congressional District

U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott, the longest serving member of Washington’s congressional delegation, collected 76 percent of the votes Tuesday with Republican Craig Keller holding down the second spot with 9.5 percent.

Republican Scott Sutherland, a grocery store worker intent on development of green energy technology, had 6.9 percent; Doug McQuaid, an attorney running as an independent, had 6.5 percent and perennial hopeful GoodSpaceGuy, an advocate for establishing colonies in space, received 1.1 percent.

McDermott is seeking a 14th term representing the district encompassing parts of King and Snohomish counties. It includes most of Seattle, as well as Burien, Normandy Park, Edmonds, Woodway and part of Shoreline.

Keller, a 51-year-old Seattle Republican, may be the most experienced of all the would-be challengers.

A longtime precinct committee officer, his forays into electoral politics this year include a failed try to repeal a plastic-bag ban in Issaquah in February and an unsuccessful effort to roll back Seattle’s new minimum wage law.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@heraldnet.com and on Twitter at @dospueblos

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