By Jerry Cornfield
A former Microsoft software engineer and an ex-Snohomish County analyst are gearing up to take on freshman Democratic Congresswoman Suzan DelBene.
Republican Pedro Celis of Redmond, the onetime chairman of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly, told the Seattle Times he will declare his candidacy today for the 1st Congressional District seat. Celis retired from Microsoft in 2012.
Republican Ed Moats of Arlington quietly launched his campaign against DelBene a few weeks ago. Moats, long active in Snohomish County Republican circles, worked as an analyst for the Snohomish County Council until the Democratic majority fired him in 2008.
Celis, a native of Mexico, is making his first run for political office though he’s no newcomer to political campaigns.
In 2004, he served on President George Bush’s re-election campaign committee in Washington and with Latino leaders in the Viva Bush Coalition. In the past, he’s also aided the campaigns of Dino Rossi for governor, George Nethercutt for Senate and U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert.
DelBene, a former Microsoft executive, was elected in 2012 in the district which stretches from northeast King County to the Canadian border. It includes a large swath of Snohomish County east of I-5, including cities of Arlington, Monroe, Lake Stevens and Snohomish.
The district is considered the state’s most evenly divided between Republican- and Democratic-leaning voters. But DelBene won handily and began the year with $674,741 in cash on hand.