Suzan DelBene narrowly lost her race to Republican Rep. Dave Reichert in the 8th District two years ago. Now she's hoping the newly-minted 1st District, which stretches from Medina to the Canadian border, will bring better electoral luck.
DelBene, a Democrat, has decided to leave her post as the director of the state Department of Finance -- effective today -- to make the run in a district that redistricting commissioner ex-Sen. Slade Gorton calls one of the most competitive swing districts in the country.
The 49-year-old former Microsoft executive, whose home is in Medina, was endorsed in her 2010 bid by the Seattle Times and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, who described her as "an impressive political newcomer" who "would quickly gain influence in Congress and bring the needed skills to the job."
In the 2010 campaign, DelBene showed strong fundraising acumen, raising more than $4 million, of which $2.2 million came from her own pocket.
The 1st District race to fill the seat Rep. Jay Inslee is vacating to run for governor, could be an exciting contest on both sides of the political aisle, though it is the Democrats that to date have the heaviest hitters. Democrats in the race so far are Darcy Burner, who lost in 2006 and 2008 to Reichert, former state Rep. Laura Ruderman, who has run for statewide office, Rep. Roger Goodman, state Sen. Steve Hobbs, a moderate in Olympia, and businessman Darshan Rauniyar.
On the Republican side is the formidable Snohomish County Councilman John Koster, who lost to Democratic U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen two years ago, along with business consultant James Watkins.