Politics Blog

UPDATE: Celis one of two challengers for DelBene

UPDATE: This is why they pay Jerry Cornfield down at the Everett Herald the big bucks. Pedro Celis was not the first in line to challenge Suzan DelBene for her 1st District congressional seat. Cornfield reported on Thursday, Feb. 27, in his blog The Petri Dish that a second Republican had quietly started his campaign a couple weeks ago. Ed Moats was a political analyst for the Snohomish County Council until he was publicly fired in 2008 by the Democrat-majority council. That's Ed Moats, folks -- take a long look at that name. It might be the last time you see it.

Apparently "Napoleon Dynamite" didn't make a big enough impression on me because I wasn't as excited as some others in the newsroom when Pedro Celis announced today he will challenge freshman congresswoman Suzan DelBene for her District 1 seat.

DelBene's district includes Whatcom County except for Bellingham and the southwest corner of the county.

DelBene, an ex-Microsoft executive who has won the approval of local progressives, will have to contend with the Republican Celis, another Microsoft alum.

At first blush, Celis looks like a strong challenger because he could appeal to moderate voters. He's Mexican-born, and he advocated for the state Real Hope Act, which makes available state financial aid to college students in the country illegally. Gov. Jay Inslee just signed that bill into law on Wednesday, Feb. 26.

Celis hasn't held elected office, so he doesn't have a voting record to scrutinize. He has made political statements, including in a recent story about his campaign announcement in the Seattle Times.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee reviewed Celis' record and came up with a list of questions it would love reporters to ask him.

(You won't hear much from the DCCC on this year's District 2 race, in which seven-term incumbent Rick Larsen -- if indeed he chooses to run again -- has no known challenger. The redrawn District 2 is perceived by Democrats as a fair lock, while District 1 leans slightly Dem but is more in play.)

Here are those questions for Celis, in a press release the DCCC issued today:

Washington State Voters Deserve to Know: What’s Pedro Celis Hiding?

As national Republicans’ handpicked candidate Pedro Celis kicks off his campaign today, Washington voters deserve to know how his hidden agenda would hurt middle class families.

Celis has deep ties to organizations and candidates with long records of pursuing radical policies to undermine the middle class, restrict women's access to health care, and dismantle the hard-earned retirement security of our nation's seniors. As Celis starts his campaign, he ought to begin by leveling with voters about his hyperpartisan advocacy of extreme and dangerous policies.

“Voters deserve to know why Pedro Celis supports policies that will hurt women, seniors and working families,” said Tyrone Gayle of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Unfortunately, what they’ll likely hear today are Tea Party platitudes and a radical agenda that would stack the deck in favor of wealthy contributors and special interests at the expense of Washington state’s middle class families.”

Here are some questions that Washington state voters want answers to: 

Question #1: Why do you support privatizing Social Security (which you called a “pyramid scheme”), which would gamble seniors’ earned benefits and retirements in the stock market? 

(More exactly, Celis in a 2005 op-ed said Social Security was "structured like those infamous pyramid schemes." - RS)

Question #2: Do you support a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions and do you support ensuring all women have affordable, quality access to reproductive health care? Or do you support  H.R. 7, the House Republicans’ latest extreme attempt to deny healthcare to women and put the government in charge of private medical decisions?

Question #3: Now that Washington state has voted to legalize same sex marriage, would you support legislation to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act? Would you support the Employment Non Discrimination Act?

Question #4: You stand opposed to raising the federal minimum wage, why do you refuse to support giving thousands of Washington State working families a raise?

Question #5: Will you support legislation to extend emergency unemployment benefits for the 24,414 Washington state job seekers who lost it on December 28, 2013, or will you join House Republicans in blocking efforts to help Washingtonians, which has cost our state over $78 million in January and February alone?

Question #6: As a prominent fundraiser for Mitt Romney last cycle, do you support his and Paul Ryan’s budget plan that would have turned Medicare into a voucher program?

Question #7: In 2002, you attempted to dishonestly interfere with an anti-Iraq war protest. Given your history of attempting to limit freedom of speech, do you also support limiting access to voting?

Question #8: With Tea Party backed organizations spending millions of secret money this election cycle, would you support a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling?

Question #9: Today, the average woman earns 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. House Republicans, led by Speaker Boehner, have refused to do anything to ensure equal pay for equal work. Would you support the Paycheck Fairness Act?

Question #10: In 2001, you donated $1,000 to the Club for Growth – a far right-wing PAC that supported the recent government shutdown, costing the US economy $24 billion last year. Did you support the government shutdown last October? Would you have voted to re-open the government?