By Jerry Cornfield Herald Writer
Democratic U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene faces six opponents in her bid for re-election in a congressional district where Democrats and Republicans are evenly divided.
DelBene, the only Democrat in the race, is up against Republicans Pedro Celis, Ed Moats, Robert Sutherland and John Orlinski; perennial hopeful Mike the Mover; and Richard Todd who is not aligned with any party.
They’re battling to represent the 1st Congressional 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 top two vote getters in the Aug. 5 primary will advance to a run-off in November.
DelBene, 52,* of Medina, who is favored to win a second term, said she has fulfilled her pledge to seek bipartisan solutions to problems.
The former Microsoft Corp. executive said she secured Republican support for her amendments to bills on agriculture and national security and she is teaming with GOP members on immigration reform and reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank.
“I think I’ve shown myself to be someone willing to work with others to make sure we get things done,” she said.
As one example, she cites inclusion of $200 million in the Farm Bill to provide job training programs for food stamp recipients.
And legislation to rein in the National Security Agency contained a provision she authored allowing Verizon, Google and other high tech companies to disclose more about those requests for information they receive from government agencies.
On other hot button issues, she endorses an immigration reform bill backed by 200 House members to improve border security along with providing a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants already in the country.
DelBene, who is pro-abortion rights, 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.
Celis, 55, of Redmond, is backed by many established Republican leaders in Washington including Reps. Dave Reichert and Cathy McMorris Rodgers, as well as the National Republican Congressional Committee.
Celis arrived from Mexico with a suitcase, a bag of books and an undergraduate degree. He earned a doctorate in computer science and had a career that concluded as a Microsoft engineer almost two years ago.
Celis talks about how he and his wife have lived the ‘“American Dream” and his campaign is about ensuring others can too.
“We’ve been blessed in this country and we want to serve this country,” he said.
But the policies espoused by President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress threaten to prevent others from living the dream.
“This government with good intentions has gone haywire and ends up preventing going up the economic ladder for many people,” he said.
Celis describes himself as a problem-solver and “a fiscal conservative, limited government and free enterprise guy.” He wants to repeal Obamacare and supports immigration reform that contains a mechanism for bringing in needed foreign workers. There also must be policies to enable those here illegally to seek citizenship without giving them amnesty, he said.
On social issues, Celis said he voted against legalizing gay marriage and opposes abortion.
Moats, 70, of Arlington, is a self-described “conservative blade of grass in the conservative grassroots.” A college instructor, he also consults for the county Farm Bureau and is a former policy analyst for the Snohomish County Council.
He said he’s running because the country is in “chaos” because of Obama’s policies.
“I want to restore the economy, the military and order and sense to our foreign affairs,” he said.
Sutherland, 54, of Granite Falls, is a retired scientist who has become active in the Republican Party since 2009.
“I am running for Congress for my kids. I am extremely concerned with the way we’re going as a country,” he said. “Both parties are responsible for putting the country into debt. Both parties have been guilty of not securing our borders.”
Sutherland and Moats share similar views on many issues. Both oppose gay marriage and are anti-abortion with Moats trumpeting his endorsement from Human Life of Washington.
Obamacare should be repealed and the nation’s borders secured against people crossing them illegally before there is talk of reforming the nation’s immigration laws, they said.
Todd, 85, of Snoqualmie, does not affiliate with any political party on the ballot and that’s a key point of his candidacy.
Congress is deadlocked and can’t carry out the purposes for which it was founded, he said.
“Both major parties are seeking to be the dominant party and I think that’s dangerous for the country,” he said. “Basically I’m running to deny either of the two major parties ability to dominate Congress.”
Mike the Mover, 61, of Mill Creek, is running as a member of the National Union Party. He notes President Abraham Lincoln did this in his 1864 re-election campaign to thwart opposition from within Republican Party.
Of his perennial bid for office dating back to 1988, he said, “I have enjoyed with a passion, each and every ‘run for office’, not as a marketing scheme, but as a ‘thorn in the foot’ to those who would use their foot to stomp on me. Very much like Lincoln did to his own Party.”
Orlinski, 59, of Bellevue, ran for Congress as a Democrat in 2010 against Rep. Dave Reichert, R-WA. and as a Republican in 2012 against Rep. Adam Smith, D-WA.
This time he is again running as an “independent populist Republican who is fiscally conservative and moderate on social issues,” according to his candidate statement.
Orlinski lives in the 9th Congressional District. He can run in this race because federal law does not require candidates for Congress to reside in the district they seek to represent.
Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Experience: Congresswoman, elected in 1st Congressional District in 2012; former director of the state Department of Revenue, former Microsoft vice president.
Experience: Retired Microsoft engineer, former chairman of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly; member of President George W. Bush’s 2004 re-election committee and Viva Bush Coalition
Experience: College instructor, consultant for Snohomish County Farm Bureau, former policy analyst with Snohomish County Council, former lawyer.
Experience: Snohomish County Republican Party Executive Committee, Vice-Chairman 44th Legislative District; retired scientist
Party: None listed
Experience: Chief engineer for commercial fishing vessels; Founder and trustee of Todd Medical Foundation
Mike the Mover
Party: National Union Party
Experience: Household goods carrier; candidate for state and federal offices numerous times since 1988
Experience: Social Worker with state Department of Social and Health Services; Financial planner, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company; former assistant professor in political science