By editorial board • 

Bonamici an easy choice in 1st Congressional District

When Suzanne Bonamici first ran for Congress, she faced formidable challenges in the November 2011 primary from Brad Witt and Brad Avakian and the January 2012 special election from Rob Cornilles. But she swept past her well-funded foes with remarkable ease, running up big margins.

Neither her own party nor the opposition mounted any serious challenges in the ensuing regular election cycles of 2012, 2014 and 2016. Despite capturing ringing victories in Multnomah, Washington, Clatsop and Columbia counties, however, Oregon’s highly respected 1st District congresswoman has never carried Yamhill County in a general election matchup.

The district hasn’t sent a Republican to Congress since Les AuCoin broke a 90-year GOP stronghold in 1974. But that hasn’t kept Yamhill County from voting reliably Republican, regardless how obscure the party standard-bearer.

Newberg exterminator Jason Yates carried the county in 2012, Portland businessman John Verbeek in 2014 and Dundee salesman Brian Heinrich in 2016. Verbeek, whose record also includes 2-1 losses in three of legislative races, returns for another congressional run this year.

Bonamici learned her way around Washington early on, while serving as a consumer protection lawyer with the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, D.C. After returning to Oregon, she won election to the House in 2006, then the Senate in 2008, distinguishing herself in both chambers.

She possesses strong political, professional and public service credentials — qualities her recent GOP challengers have lacked. And she has established an exemplary record of delivering for Oregon.

Bonamici serves on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, as well as its Science, Space and Technology Committee. She helped found the bipartisan STEAM Caucus, dedicated to the study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics by women as well as men. She is currently co-chairing both the STEAM Caucus and the Oceans Caucus, which addresses coastal issues like ocean acidification, marine debris and tsunami danger. 

She played a major role in securing federal funding for the Newberg-Dundee Bypass. And she has held regular town halls throughout the district to hear from constituents.

Bonamici is a virtual lock to carry the district’s other four counties in November.

Yamhill County remains more problematical. But given her qualifications, which dwarf those of her opponent by any objective measure, she deserves to finally break through here as well.

If the GOP harbored legitimate hopes, it would be fielding a more credible challenger than perennial candidate John Verbeek.

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