Suzan DelBene, the latest Democrat to join the fray in the 1st Congressional District

As expected, Democrat Suzan DelBene, the former Microsoft exec and online biz entrepreneur who ran against Republican US Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA, 8 ) in 2010 (she put in $2.3 million of her own money and lost 52.05 to 47.95), is jumping into the race in the redrawn 1st Congressional District.

Incumbent US Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA, 1) is running for governor and his open seat, which was tweaked in the redistricting process to include more rural and conservative turf north in Whatcom County, has drawn a batch of Democratic hopefuls. DelBene, the current director of the state department of revenue, says, "the most important issue is to get people back to work," adding that she wants to "invest in small business and infrastructure." She says Congress has "done a bad job by being focused on the short-term, two-month and three-month solutions."[pullquote]Asked if she can make a repeat deposit of $2.3 million into her own campaign, she says: "If I'm asking people to invest in my campaign, then I'm willing to do what I need to." [/pullquote]

DelBene (a lefty on economic issues—she took a pre-Occupy Occupy stance in 2010, calling for the reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act, which separated investment and commercial banks—who has business background credibility) becomes the immediate front-runner given her personal wealth, recent high-profile run against Reichert, establishment job with the state, and moderate bent. She says she wants to strike "a balance between government efficiency and investing in jobs."

Asked about the Occupy movement, DelBene said, "it's about economic opportunity disappearing, and I agree we need to bring it back."

DelBene is joining a pack that includes: fiscal conservative state Sen. Steve Hobbs (D-44, Lake Stevens); newcomer (and surprise fundraising success) Bothell small business entrepreneur and  Democratic Party activist Darshan Rauniyar; 2008 netroots hopeful and current head of ProgressiveCongress.org—a lefty grassroots group that promotes liberals for Congress—Darcy Burner; former state legislator and fundraising leader ($182,000) Laura Ruderman; and liberal state Rep. Roger Goodman (D-45, Kirkland), now second in fundraising at $162,000.

For her part, DelBene—asked if she can make a repeat deposit of $2.3 million into her own campaign, she says: "If I'm asking people to invest in my campaign, then I'm willing to do what I need to."

Both parties claim the newly drawn 1st district—which now stretches from the Microsoft suburbs north through Snohomish County and all the way up to Canada border—leans slightly their way. In truth, it's a swing district. Arch conservative Republican Snohomish County Council member John Koster, who narrowly lost a run for Congress in the 2nd Congressional District against Democratic US Rep. Rick Larsen in 2010, is the main Republican going for the open seat. (Though the rumor mill has it that the GOP establishment isn't convinced he's the right guy.)

In her official announcement today, DelBene said, “In Congress, I plan to work with President Obama and with members of both parties to break the hyperpartisan gridlock in Washington, D.C. in order to strengthen oversight of Wall Street, protect consumers and assist those in need, and boost the middle class.”
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