Suzan DelBene (left) is facing challengers (top L-R) Adam Pilskog, Jeffrey Beeler, (bottom L-R) Scott Stafne and Robert Mair.

Suzan DelBene (left) is facing challengers (top L-R) Adam Pilskog, Jeffrey Beeler, (bottom L-R) Scott Stafne and Robert Mair.

DelBene faces four challengers looking to change dynamic in DC

They are competing to represent the 1st Congressional District.

Democrat U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene is running for re-election against four opponents seeking to bring a new dynamic, and some reforms, to Congress.

DelBene, the only Democrat in the race, is up against Republicans Jeffrey Beeler and Scott Stafne, and two candidates who chose not to align with any party, Robert Mair and Adam Pilskog.

They are competing 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 finishers in the Aug. 7 primary will square off in November.

DelBene, 56, of Medina, is a former Microsoft executive. Heavily favored to win a fourth term, she said she wants to continue to work on policies assuring a strong economy benefiting rural and urban areas, protect the Affordable Care Act and pass a responsible federal budget.

DelBene, who serves on the budget and the ways and means committees, also said Congress must press President Donald Trump for clarity on his trade and tariffs policy

“This is a critical time,” she said. “Now more than ever we have to have strong, steady leadership in Congress.”

She blamed House Republican leaders for blocking bipartisan bills on difficult issues such as immigration. If re-elected and if her party regains the majority, she said, Democrats “will finally have an opportunity to allow legislation to move forward.”

Beeler, 49, serves on the Sultan City Council and owns a window-cleaning business. This is his first run for federal office.

He was frustrated with Congress’ penchant for bickering rather than acting, he said. Although DelBene has sought bipartisan resolutions to some problems, Beeler said you need to change the people in Congress if you hope to see things operate differently.

“Congress is not doing its job properly,” he said. “There is a far left faction and a far right faction.”

Beeler said he supports comprehensive immigration reform with strong border security. But he disagreed with Trump’s policy of separating children from their parents.

On tariffs, he said, he would give the president “leeway” to see how the policy and practice play out.

Stafne, 69, is an attorney and lives in an unincorporated area outside Arlington. He lost to DelBene in the 2016 primary and ran unsuccessfully for the state Supreme Court in 2012.

Stafne, who is not accepting campaign contributions, said increasing the number of House members is vital to improving the political system.

“If you’re going to have a republic, you need more than one member for every 700,000 people,” he said.

Stafne said he would push economic policies that “grow the middle class” and support it with affordable health care, education and housing. Congress also must to do more to end the opioid epidemic and reform the judicial system, he said.

“Over 85 percent of people who need an attorney cannot afford one,” he said, “Our judicial system doesn’t work for the poor, the working poor or the middle class.”

Pilskog, 40, of Monroe, is a middle school teacher in the Northshore School District and writes movie reviews for The Monroe Monitor.

This is his first run for office, spurred by disillusionment with those chosen to govern.

“I’m a concerned citizen who has grown increasingly discouraged with our political climate,” he said. “I’m tired of seeing problems being dismissed or kicked down the road. I’m tired of partisan gridlock, and I’m concerned about the health of the nation for myself and my young son.”

Pilskog supports political reforms including term limits, campaign finance overhaul and a balanced budget amendment.

DelBene, he said, “has done a fine job, and I agree with and support many of her positions, but she is a wealthy elite and lacks perspective of the average middle class Washingtonian.”

Mair, 64, of Redmond, a Teamster, said his aim is to “get money out of politics. I want your vote not your money.”

A second subject of interest involves the environment.

“I am trying to get $1 billion out of (Amazon CEO Jeff) Bezos. I want to try to buy everyone in Washington state a Tesla,” he said.

DelBene holds a whopping advantage in campaign cash.

Through June 30, she had raised $1,497,254 and had $1,265,945 available, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.

Beeler reported $6,790 in receipts and $1,337 on hand as of July 1. No other candidate had collected enough money to require filing the reports.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@herald Twitter: @dospueblos.

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