By editorial board • 

Bonamici dwarfs her 1st district opposition

When Suzanne Bonamici made her first run for Congress in 2012, she faced two formidable Democratic primary opponents in fellow state Rep. Brad Witt and state Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian.

After dispatching them handily, she faced a daunting Republican general election opponent in businessman Rob Cornilles. Though Cornilles mounted a credible, well-financed campaign, he lost by a wider margin than he had two years earlier in an attempt to unseat previous officeholder David Wu.

The pair of convincing victories demonstrated Bonamici’s electability. Her performance since has demonstrated her competence.

That’s a hard combination to beat, especially in a district like the First, which hasn’t sent a Republican to Congress in almost 50 years. As a consequence, neither party has produced even the semblance of a serious challenger the last two election cycles.

A former Federal Trade Commission lawyer, Bonamici knew her way around Washington long before she earned a return ticket from voters in the First District’s five counties, Multnomah, Washington, Clatsop, Columbia and Yamhill. And she quickly set about putting it to good use on behalf of her constituents.

Bonamici serves on the House’s Committee on Education and the Workforce and Committee on Science, Space and Technology. She is a member of a number of caucuses reflecting areas of specific interest and expertise, including small business, career and technical education, and innovation and entrepreneurship.

Throughout her legal, legislative and congressional careers, she has championed public education and consumer protection. She has also proven a fierce advocate for Oregon and the factors that make it special.

In the Democratic primary, she has drawn challenges from a pair of neophytes, dental practice manager Ricky Barajas and quality assurance engineer Michael Stansfield. Vying for the Republican nomination are John Verbeek, veteran of 2-1 drubbings in three legislative races, and two more first-timers, Preston Miller and George Griffith.

Verbeek immigrated to the U.S. from Holland 20 years ago to pursue a career in banking, insurance and finance. He lost state Senate races in 2012 and 2014 to Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, and a state House race in 2016 to Mitch Greenlick, receiving just 33.7 percent of the vote in his best showing.

Miller is a 27-year-old Army veteran boasting Libertarian and Tea Party leanings. Griffith, who moved to Oregon 20 years ago to pursue a career in engineering, is running as a voice of moderation and consensus-building in a party that doesn’t seem very receptive at this juncture. Neither has any meaningful record of public service.

Bomamici stands head and shoulders above the opponents she’s drawn in this race. Truth be told, she’s not only the best candidate for voters of Democratic or independent allegiance, but also Republican.

She displays thoughtfulness, moderation and a strong commitment to constituent service. That’s a mix they could not expect from a Democrat of more partisan stripe.

Democrats would be best served by checking the box for Bonamici. Lacking any credible alternative, Republicans would benefit by writing her in.

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