As promised, Pedro Celis, the underdog Republican challenger facing off against U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA, 1), has posted a "comprehensive" outline of policy positions on his website.
Celis made the news this week when he hired Zachary Werrell and Gray Delany, the Tea Party dream team that unseated GOP house majority leader U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor in Virginia's June primary. Yesterday we asked Delany if his arrival represented a rightward shift in Celis' campaign, as DelBene's campaign manager Viet Shelton alleged.
Ironically, the response from the DelBene campaign to Celis' boilerplate GOP talking points featured boilerplate Democratic talking points.
Delany said no, and told us to look for a list of policy positions on Celis' website today.
Promise fulfilled: the "Pedro's Views" page clarifies that Celis is a standard-issue Business Republican. His stance on healthcare? Repeal Obamacare and put a free-market version in its place. Immigration? Secure the border. Economy? Slash regulation and restrict Congressional taxing authority. Energy? "All of the above," he says, arguing that that selective government investment in the energy market can easily lead to croneyism. Obama? Well-intentioned, but incompetent and "not taken seriously by the rest of the world."
(Weirdly, Celis claims that the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, "will never accomplish its core goal of reducing healthcare costs," even though independent analyses tentatively suggest the program may have already helped slow-down growth in healthcare costs. Ditto for Celis' claim that it has "reduced access to care": independent analyses suggest the ACA has lowered the overall number of uninsured Americans.)
One point on which Celis and DelBene agree (aside from the fact that---surprise!---they both support economic growth) is domestic spying. In the past two years, DelBene has made a name for herself on the House Judiciary Committee as a critic of the National Security Agency's data collection programs.
Celis agrees, saying, "I support the end of collecting bulk phone and email data on U.S. citizens by the NSA or any other branch of government." This isn't too surprising: Views on domestic spying complicate traditional party lines, with middle-of-the-road Republicans and Democrats generally supportive of the practice and hard-Left and hard-Right politicians opposed.
Ironically, the response from the DelBene campaign to Celis' boilerplate GOP talking points featured boilerplate Democratic talking points. Campaign manager Viet Shelton tells me that Celis' "ultraconservative" positions further demonstrate that he is "incredibly out of step with the working families in the district."
This sounds just like what he told Josh earlier this week when the Tea Party stars signed on with Celis: "We've been saying for months that he [Celis] is way too conservative for the 1st [Congressional District]."