By Jerry Cornfield
Republican Pedro Celis’ quest to unseat incumbent Democratic Congresswoman Suzan DelBene is getting more attention from national Republican leaders.
Today, the National Republican Congressional Committee elevated Celis to the status of “Contender,” which is the second level of its candidate assistance program known as “Young Guns.”
To reach this level Celis had to meet “stringent program metrics” and be “on the path to developing a mature and competitive campaign operation,” according to NRCC materials.
One of those metrics is fundraising. This week Celis filed his first campaign finance report and it showed he raised $202,176 through March 31, which is end of the filing period.
Celis, who entered the race in early March, reached that plateau on the final day when he put in $20,800 of his own money.
Meanwhile, DelBene outraised Celis in the filing period and holds a huge advantage overall.
She raised $297,640 in the three-month period ending March 31 and has taken in $1.27 million for the election cycle that began Jan. 1, 2013. She had $894,000 in cash on hand at the start of April.
DelBene is serving her first full term in the 1st Congressional District which stretches from east King County suburbs to the Canadian border. It takes in a number of communities in Snohomish County including Mill Creek, Lake Stevens, Snohomish, Arlington and Darrington.
As of this week, Charles Rothenberg, author of the Rothenberg Political Report, and Larry Sabato, creator of the Sabato Crystal Ball analysis of congressional races, have both deemed this to be a safe Democratic seat.