Okay, the headline is not completely accurate – she does indeed have to campaign for the general but right now, it looks like it is all over for the Republicans in the 1st Congressional District.
At the beginning of this year, DelBene appeared to be one of the most vulnerable candidates in the nation. Her district, statistically, is one of the most competitive and she was running for reelection for the first time.
The state Republicans had recruited a business-minded Latino, Pedro Celis, and generated some real positive media about his campaign. He had raised just under half a million dollars (the traditional threshold for being competitive in a Congressional race) and was on his way.
Driving through the county, you could see the red “Vote for Pedro” signs dotting the intersections and he had paid multiple visits to Whatcom trying to drum up votes. In short, Celis worked hard for this election.
Then the primary happened and he got beat by someone with $1,000 in the bank. Robert Sutherland, no relation to the famous college professor, edged out Celis in the primary, pulling in 700 more votes than Celis. Obviously today’s ballot count could reverse that but the damage is already done.
Sutherland, a former biochemist whose website is filled with typos and links to videos of random people singing covers of his favorite songs, managed to beat the anointed Republican candidate. That is hard to explain away.
The next vote count could put Celis back in the running but it looks like DelBene can relax a bit, her hard work tackling bipartisan issues like reining in the NSA and immigration reform is paying off and her opponents just can’t seem to get their act together.