By Evan Smith
Democratic State Rep. Luis Moscoso has a challenger in the 1st Legislative District.
He’s Ed Barton, who registered with the State Public Disclosure Commission two weeks ago as a Libertarian candidate, but switched his party preference to Republican last week.
Barton is president of a company that helps banks and similar businesses manage risk in their merchant portfolios.
Previously, he held management positions in that and other companies.
Barton, who now lives in the Snohomish County part of Bothell, served on the Mill Creek City Planning Commission from 2001 to 2006.
He said last week that he decided to challenge Moscoso rather than Democratic Rep. Derek Stanford because Moscoso has spent his career in the public sector, while Barton wants the Legislature to hear the voice of the typical small business person; and because he disagrees with Moscoso’s vote for legislation that, Barton said, moves the state further into education control that he believes is best left to the local school boards and local school administration.
He does praise Moscoso for championing a sensible immigration policy, for working for equal rights and for sponsoring family-business friendly legislation.
He said recently that he had identified himself as a Republican until the 2012 elections, when he thought that some of the positions the party was taking on social issues were beyond where the government should tread.
He first registered with the PDC as a Libertarian because he believes that his positions on social issues were inconsistent with the Republican platform.
Then, he said, he talked to Republican former U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton about Republican Party positions on several issues.
That discussion, he said, made him comfortable that the party is grappling with these elements and that no candidate is a true party purist.
“I consider myself a Republican, as I always have,” he said. “Where I differ with the party platform tends to be around social issues. I am now comfortable that the differences with the strict party platform do not preclude party self-identification.
Moscoso starts the campaign with a big financial advantage. He has reported raising $29,078 and spending $17,296, while Barton has yet to report any fundraising or spending.
Stanford, who has no announced opposition, reports raising $16,711 and spending $682.
The 1st Legislative District includes most of Mountlake Terrace, all of Brier and Bothell, unincorporated areas of Snohomish County north and east of Bothell, part of Kirkland and unincorporated areas of King County between Bothell and Kirkland.