Suzan DelBene (left) and Jeffrey Beeler

Suzan DelBene (left) and Jeffrey Beeler

Three incumbent House Democrats face spirited challengers

Unlike many of their peers, DelBene, Larsen and Jayapal are heavy favorites to return to Congress.

EVERETT — Immigration, health care and the political direction of the country are flashpoint issues between the three Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives and their opponents.

Here is a snapshot of the contests.

1st Congressional District

Democratic Rep. Suzan DelBene is facing Republican Jeffrey Beeler in a 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.

DelBene, 56, of Medina, is seeking a fourth term. The former Microsoft executive, who serves on the budget and the ways and means committees, said she wants to preserve the Affordable Care Act, though some fixes may be needed.

She backs comprehensive reform of immigration laws and criticized GOP leaders for not allowing a vote on a bipartisan bill to make some of those changes.

On trade and tariffs, she said Congress must continue pressing President Donald Trump for clarity on the policies to ensure they do not harm dairies, farms and other agriculture-related businesses.

And if, as predicted, Democrats regain control of the House of Representatives, she said her party must hold Trump and his administration accountable.

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

If elected, he said he wants to try to end the extreme partisanship which had paralyzed the House and prevented action on critical policies.

He acknowledged some frustration with House GOP leaders for “holding up decisions that need to be made.”

Immigration is one. Beeler wants better border security but disagreed with Trump’s policy of separating children from their parents.

He said the flow of guest workers must be slowed because it is costing some Americans a shot at a job.

On tariffs, he said, he would give the president “leeway” to see how the policy and practice play out. And while he’d like the president to tweet less, he did praise him for taking steps to boost the economy.

“The policies are working,” he said.

Rick Larsen (left) and Brian Luke

Rick Larsen (left) and Brian Luke

2nd Congressional District

Democratic Rep. Rick Larsen is facing Libertarian Brian Luke in the district which covers all of Island and San Juan counties, plus western Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom counties. It includes Everett, Marysville, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace, Mukilteo, Arlington, Stanwood and Tulalip.

Larsen, 53, of Everett, is seeking a 10th term and with a win would become the district’s longest-serving congressman.

A member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, he said he’ll focus in his next term on boosting investment in infrastructure and workforce training.

On health care, he said the Affordable Care Act reduced the number of those uninsured. But changes pushed by the Republican-led Congress and Trump administration have undermined the law’s effectiveness. If Democrats regain the House majority, they must roll back those changes, he said.

Also, he said, “We will practice oversight over this administration. (Republicans) are overlooking everything this president is doing.”

Luke, 45, of Lynnwood, is communication director for the Snohomish County Libertarian Party. A grocery department manager, he challenged Larsen in the 2016 primary but lost.

An admitted underdog, he is using his candidacy to increase the visibility of his party and its approaches to solving domestic and foreign policy challenges facing the nation.

On immigration, he said more border enforcement is needed. To pay for it, he said he would reduce spending on overseas military bases.

Luke said he opposes the Trump policy of separating families.

If elected, he said he would work to reduce the national debt because it threatens the country’s long-term economic well-being. And on health care, he said he wants to create competition among primary care providers and introduce price comparisons among insurers.

Pramila Jayapal (left) and Craig Keller

Pramila Jayapal (left) and Craig Keller

7th Congressional District

Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal is facing Republican Craig Keller, of Seattle, in this district which covers communities in south Snohomish County and King County including much of Seattle. It takes in Edmonds, Woodway and Shoreline.

Jayapal, 53, of Seattle, is seeking a second term. She is a former state senator and the founder and former executive director of OneAmerica, one of Washington’s largest political advocacy groups for immigrants.

A heavy favorite in this Democrat-laden district, Jayapal has said if re-elected she will pursue policies to make college tuition-free, expand environmental protections, ensure pay equity and protect reproductive rights.

She supports universal health care with a “single-payer” model and has formed a political committee to back candidates who endorse a similar approach.

Keller, 55, of Seattle, ran for this seat in 2014 and 2016.

Like those races, he’s made immigration the centerpiece. Keller wants better enforcement of existing laws and backs efforts to prevent cities from becoming “sanctuary cities” for undocumented immigrants.

The immigration system “is not broken,” he said. “It is broken by people who don’t want to follow the law.”

Keller wants to require all employers enroll in and use the federal E-verify program for hiring of new workers. It is now mostly voluntary. “We have to have honest hiring and no false identities,” he said.

And he said the H1-B and EB-5 programs should be dismantled or allowed to expire. The former enables eligible foreign nationals to obtain work visas for high-skilled jobs and the latter allows them to become permanent residents by investing in job-producing businesses.

Election Day is Nov. 6.

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

The candidates

1st Congressional District

The district stretches from the Canadian border south through Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish and King counties. It includes Darrington, Lake Stevens, Mill Creek, Monroe, Snohomish and Sultan.

Suzan DelBene

Party: Democratic

Age: 56

Residence: Medina

Experience: Congresswoman, 2012-present; former director of the state Department of Revenue; former marketing vice president for Microsoft.

Website: www.delbene

Jeffrey Beeler

Party: Republican

Age: 49

Residence: Sultan

Experience: Sultan City Council, elected 2009; U.S. 2 Safety Coalition member since 2007; Puget Sound Regional Council transportation board, 2014-15; owner, window-washing business.


2nd Congressional District

The district covers all of Island and San Juan counties, plus western Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom counties. It includes Everett, Marysville, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace, Mukilteo, Arlington, Stanwood and Tulalip.

Rick Larsen

Party: Democratic

Age: 53

Residence: Everett

Experience: Congressman, 2001-present; former Snohomish County Councilman, lobbyist for Washington State Dental Association


Brian Luke

Party: Libertarian

Age: 45

Residence: Lynnwood

Experience: Snohomish County Libertarian Party, communications director; Grocery store department manager.


7th Congressional District

The district covers communities in south Snohomish County and King County including much of Seattle. It takes in Edmonds, Woodway and Shoreline.

Pramila Jayapal

Party: Democratic

Age: 53

Residence: Seattle

Experience: Congresswoman, 2017-present; State senator, 2015-16; founder and former executive director of OneAmerica, an immigrant advocacy group.


Craig Keller

Party: Republican

Age: 55

Residence: Seattle

Experience: Founder of Respect Washington; backer of “Respect for Law” initiative to curb hiring of and voting by undocumented immigrants; sponsor of measures to repeal sweetened beverage tax in Seattle and plastic bag ban in Issaquah; West Seattle Precinct Committee Officer since 1994.


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