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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Suzan DelBene's Voting Record

Posted by on Thu, Apr 9, 2009 at 5:30 PM

db07/1239324736-delbene.jpgIn this week's Stranger I have a short story about (and longer interview with) the new Democratic candidate for Congress in the Eastside's 8th Congressional District:

It sounds like Darcy Burner 2.0: Over in the Eastside's 8th Congressional District, a former Microsoft manager with no previous political experience has announced she's running for Congress as a Democrat. Her name is Suzan DelBene, and she arrives on the political scene less than six months after Burner, also a former Microsoft manager with no previous political experience, failed in her second attempt to push out Republican congressman Dave Reichert.

Today a tipster encouraged me to look up DelBene's voting record at King County Elections. In that record: Nine missed votes in special or general elections over the past four years.

I spoke to DelBene on the phone this afternoon and asked her why she'd missed so many opportunities to vote—including the general election of 2005 (the year of the gas tax repeal vote, among other things) and the general election of 2006 (a year when the Congressional seat she now wants was being voted on). Her answer:

I have never been a partisan political person. I really have been inspired by Barack Obama and the changes that we’ve made in our government and I feel like the decisions we make now are incredibly critical and I think I can help.

Yes, but about those missed votes...

I’m not a perfect person. I know everyone who runs for public office isn’t perfect. That’s about all I can say.

What will she say if (or, more likely, when) Republicans suggest that with a local voting record like this she can't be trusted to vote reliably in Congress?

I think anything I’ve done I’ve been extremely loyal and devoted. If I’m a Representative then that’s my job and I would be focused on my job.

Is DelBene embarrassed by this?

I think I said what I said earlier, which is that I wasn’t particularly partisan then. I’m not now. And we need people to make decisions about where we’re going now, and I think we should have an open forum where anyone can run for office who’s got the right skill set to help us out.

So who and what would she have voted for in the elections that she missed? For starters, Darcy Burner for Congress and Maria Cantwell for Senate in 2006, DelBene told me. How about 2005? She'd have voted no on I-912, the proposed gas tax repeal (which was ultimately rejected by voters). And what about that Washington State presidential primary that she missed in February of 2008? Delbene said she'd have gone for Barack Obama.

Why so many missed votes?

Business took me out of town a lot and that was one of my challenges in being at the polls every time.

She admitted, however, that she could have arranged for absentee ballots.


Comments (41) RSS

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How do I look up my voting history? I remember seeing it once. I think I've only missed one in my life.
Posted by Model D Voter on April 9, 2009 at 5:46 PM · Report this
Great, just what we need. Another loser-no political experience-overconfident-it's because of Obama person running for office. Ick. Loser.
Posted by Wenzilla on April 9, 2009 at 5:49 PM · Report this
There's no point in voting the Democratic primary in WA -- if you don't feel like dealing with the caucuses, you are outta luck in this state.

That being said, the state party has got to be worried they migh endup with her in the general election.
Posted by Good Grief on April 9, 2009 at 5:54 PM · Report this
When I hear that people don't vote, it makes me think they don't care about any of the issues enough to take a little time out of their day to perform their civic duty once or twice a year. I don't want those kinds of people in Congress.
Posted by another Andy on April 9, 2009 at 6:09 PM · Report this
is a one source i know of.
Posted by aarons on April 9, 2009 at 6:15 PM · Report this
@1 You can look yourself up through the SecState, too:…
Posted by ksm206 on April 9, 2009 at 6:20 PM · Report this

2009 Special Election
2008 General Election
2007 General Election
2007 Primary
2007 Special Election
2007 Special Election
2006 General Election
2006 Primary
2005 General Election
Posted by Model D Voter on April 9, 2009 at 6:27 PM · Report this
People don't vote because they are partisian; they vote because they give a damn. This lady is a moron and a loser.
Posted by unimpressed on April 9, 2009 at 6:46 PM · Report this
Ummm, a lukewarm corpse would be a vast improvement to Dave Reichert. If no one else runs, she's got my vote.
Posted by Someone else please run on April 9, 2009 at 6:53 PM · Report this
Does anyone else get the feeling from her many of her answers that this woman is just a complete opportunist?
Posted by Doctor Professor on April 9, 2009 at 6:56 PM · Report this
It's shameful enough that someone running for the U.S. Congress couldn't have been bothered to vote in the 2006 general election. (I guess back in 2006 DelBene didn't have any political ambitions of her own.) But the answer she gives as to why just makes me boil over: "I have never been a partisan political person."

So you have to be a partisan to fulfill your civic duty to vote? We have enough phonies in Congress who will say anything to get ahead and who, rather than showing the least bit of intellectual honestry and leveling with people, think they're smarter than the gullible voters and can put one past them.

Also, I hate to say it, but the fact she comes from Microsoft sounds some alarms for me. Microsoft is a cutthroat place where it's been said, it's not enough to make yourself look good, you also have to make the other guy look bad. Microsoft is not the kind of place that fosters or breeds anything approaching what one would call political courage. It is the kind of place that self-selects for Tracy Flick types, not Barack Obama types.

I'd be curious what Suzan DelBene's guiding political philosophy is, besides career ambition.

Please, Eastside Democrats, surely you can do better than Darcy Burner II.
Posted by cressona on April 9, 2009 at 7:10 PM · Report this
Oh, and just to clarify my post @11, I don't mean to disparage everyone who works at Microsoft. It's just that Suzan DelBene, on first impression, strikes me as a certain type of person who fits into the Microsoft culture. And yeah, it doesn't help that she reminds me a good bit of Darcy Burner.
Posted by cressona on April 9, 2009 at 7:15 PM · Report this
Hello class, and welcome to Planning for Your Future Candidacy 101. Lectures for this course will include:

• Religion: How to Pretend you Love Jesus

• Avoiding Sex Scandals (mandatory attendance for Republicans)

• Accentuating Your "Working Class" Upbringing (mandatory attendance for Democrats)

• Voting in Every Election (yes, it’s important, and no, people won’t take your seriously unless you do it)
Posted by Julie in Eugene on April 9, 2009 at 7:22 PM · Report this
Why are these ex-Microsoft people always coming after Dave Reichert...who is probably one of the fairest and best qualified people in Congress.

Did he refuse to pay the "Windows Tax" ??

Posted by Borg On Fire on April 9, 2009 at 7:51 PM · Report this
With her present level of political know how - she can run a voter registration drive at the mall - maybe

Sorry, she does not make the cut as a viable candidate.

Sorry, two, I predicted both the Bruner losses ... for me, Bruner just had no fire or standing .. and .. I grew up on the Eastside.

Getting Sheriff Dave un elected is a hard political task. He is a perfect match for that district and solidly entrenched now.
Posted by Reggie on April 9, 2009 at 7:56 PM · Report this
Speaking of Barack Obama...other than creating rock solid welfare for millionaires and kowtowing to every elite group in the world, what exactly has he don't for any of you local folk that voted for him?

Posted by What Have You Done? on April 9, 2009 at 8:06 PM · Report this
Roger Goodman needs to run. Pro-legalization progressive who WON actual races over there. No more Microsoft middle managers.
Posted by Seattle Observer on April 9, 2009 at 8:13 PM · Report this
Oh christ. I actually love Darcy Burner, and she might have won this time around were it not for the smear-job the Seattle Times did on her right before the election. This woman, though, sounds like a guaranteed loser. Can we please get a strong fucking candidate in the 8th so we can get rid of Sheriff Hairspray? It shouldn't be that hard to do.
Posted by Jen on April 9, 2009 at 8:54 PM · Report this
I suppose voting isn't for everyone, but it doesn't require that much of an effort; especially in this age of the absentee ballot. I was out of the country for some primary vote, but I managed to make sure I got my vote in. Just required a stamp.
The fact that she didn't attend/vote during the caucuses in 2008 does make me raise my eyebrow, because it was the first time in recent years that Washington really had some serious sway in the primaries.
Inspiration from another elected official is fine and dandy, but it would be neat to see someone who had spent some time in the trenches working for the people when it wasn't sexy.
Posted by au gout on April 9, 2009 at 8:56 PM · Report this
No record of public involvement or being engaged in civic issues..... nobody will trust her... She's toast
Posted by jackseattle on April 9, 2009 at 9:03 PM · Report this
Second the Roger Goodman nomination!
Posted by gnossos on April 9, 2009 at 9:43 PM · Report this






Posted by COMTE on April 9, 2009 at 9:48 PM · Report this
Okay, I have NO fucking idea who that was, but I swear it wasn't me!
Posted by COMTE on April 9, 2009 at 9:50 PM · Report this
You know, a lot of people who liked, and perhaps loved, Darcy Burner would have felt a lot more comfortable supporting her for not quite so high an office on her first try at politics.

I mean, yes, the outsider cachet is nice and all, but come on. You have to earn it too. And now here comes another one, who spends her life off doing whatever and then shows up thinking she can have Dave Reichert's seat. As if we will hand it over to anybody, anybody, who isn't Dave Reichert. Not so much, honey.

Somebody out there is qualified. I know it. Next!
Posted by elenchos on April 9, 2009 at 10:08 PM · Report this
elenchos - Totally agree, I wish Darcy had aimed at maybe a state level post first and then built off that experience.
Posted by Jen on April 9, 2009 at 11:26 PM · Report this
dear god! Please run Rodney Tom!
Posted by passionate_jus on April 10, 2009 at 1:13 AM · Report this
I'd like to see Dave Ross run again.
Posted by CD#9 on April 10, 2009 at 5:23 AM · Report this
Great job, Eli. The Stranger should give you a raise for that.

I wouldn't lift a finger for anyone who says "I'm not a partisan person." If you don't care enough for a particular party, at least come across like you believe in issues that other people are passionate about -- like health care, education, cleaning up the environment, banking reform -- something, anything!

You think you can help, Suzan? Better start telling us how.

What's more, I don't really think the comparisons to Darcy Burner apply here. Darcy Burner put her heart and soul into her two campaigns. If anything, she worked even harder at her second campaign than she had in her first. Those of us who were on the trail with her can testify to that. She led by example. She could damn well tell people what she was "partisan" about -- and she still didn't get elected.

In the end, her lack of experience in public life did her in -- not the Seattle Times. People give the Blethen rag far too much credit.

I don't understand why Suzan Del Bene is running for this seat, or why any Democrat would support someone who not only has never held public office, but who has displayed a marked disinterest in public affairs -- not even having any issues to get "partisan" about, or not caring enough even to VOTE -- and then says "nobody's perfect."

For once, Elenchos @ 24 speaks for me. Try running for City Council or something, Suzan. Those are "nonpartisan" races. The U.S. House of Representatives isn't.

Posted by ivan on April 10, 2009 at 6:47 AM · Report this
I live in the Eighth. The problem is that we only have a few Dem state legislators, and many of them of either ex- or closet Republicans. That is slowly changing. But the last set of Dem candidates for the state legislature in Issaquah were loons. And Suzan sure seems underwhelming at first blush.

Should I run?

2008 General Election
2007 General Election
2006 General Election
2006 Special Election
2005 General Election

Probably not. As an atheist who lived with my wife for years before getting married, I'm probably not ideal. And my involvement thus far only extends to PTA and city government task forces. But on the other hand, I'm a gun nut and a fiscal "moderate". Maybe in two years...
Posted by Big Sven on April 10, 2009 at 8:16 AM · Report this
Cressona and Elenchos - totally agree.

Hope she hires Sandeep and Butterworth then we won't have to worry.
Posted by McG on April 10, 2009 at 8:19 AM · Report this
While I agree that her voting record presents a problem, I grow weary of the sentiment that always look with suspicion at anyone who runs for office.

She may not win. But, she has stepped up, and it is daunting to expose your life in this way. I applaud her, and anyone, for trying. She does not deserve derision, even if you don't think you'll vote for her.
Posted by Timothy on April 10, 2009 at 8:24 AM · Report this
Same for Tom Delay?

Darcy Burner was anointed by the Rahm Emanuel team and prevented a real vetted progressive from winning.

No more MSFT bullshit managers.
Posted by McG on April 10, 2009 at 8:54 AM · Report this
@31: egomaniacs who are grossly unqualified and are too egomaniacal to realize it absolutely worthy of our derision. Especially in a swing district that could would otherwise have a strong shot at going Blue in 2010.
Posted by Big Sven on April 10, 2009 at 10:21 AM · Report this
@ 32:

Darcy Burner was anointed by the Rahm Emanuel team and prevented a real vetted progressive from winning.

Guess what? That's a flat-out lie.

#1. There WAS no "real vetted progressive." Name a name, why don't you? Vetted by whom? You? What is a "progressive" and who is to decide? You?

#2. Rahm Emanuel didn't get involved in Darcy's campaign until she, and she alone, proved that she could attract followers and raise money. Until then he was skeptical about her viability, and rightly so. My source for this assertion is Adam Smith, who knows a few things about campaigns and campaigning. Rahm neither recruited Darcy nor did he "anoint" her. There just plain wasn't anyone else. He ended up supporting Darcy because she proved she could support herself.

And don't tell me it was Alex Alben. If he's a "real progressive," I'm a three-toed sloth. Alben is every bit the "corpocrat" you appear to think Darcy is, and had far less hope of beating Reichert than Darcy did..

Posted by ivan on April 10, 2009 at 11:06 AM · Report this
DelBene's answers to Eli's questions about her voting record are unacceptable. She is running for U.S. Congress, she should care about politics and democracy. She should be interested in what is happening in her community. Not bothering to vote? Her whole not being "partisan" line of BS? Get real.
Posted by Seattleite on April 10, 2009 at 11:09 AM · Report this
Should a voting record, including voting period count, in an election? Yes.

Should it be a determining factor? Probably not, but depends how eggregious.

The reality is, in today's world these issues do count, no matter how important they actually are. We probably lose good people who would never run for office because they know they have skeleton's like these and aren't willing to put themselves through the ringer that they know will come.

That said, she does have a pretty fucking awful voting record.
Posted by Brad on April 10, 2009 at 11:24 AM · Report this
I have to say that, having worked at Microsoft for some years, I cannot imagine a worst place to gain good experience in being an effective and valuable political leader. Poor communication, lack of training and/or skills in supervising others, hyper-competitive professional growth, all typical of Microsoft. None good in a political leader. Folks, get out in the community and learn the ropes at a local level, then put you name out there for national office. Why do we have to depend on people with deep pockets and no experience, is the job in DC so ugly that no good, experienced folks will run?
Posted by markr on December 18, 2009 at 2:34 PM · Report this
Do you think she woke up one day and said OMG, I think I'll run for Congress! That'd be fun! Honey, can we spare a million or two so I can go play congresswoman or senator or whatever? Please please please?...

Darcy Burner 2.0 is right. Good to see the Stranger actually do some journalism--haven't seen that out of the Seattle Times in a few years!
Posted by socialismSux on August 5, 2010 at 7:12 PM · Report this
My Voting History (after September 2005)
2010 Special Election
2009 General Election
2009 Primary
2009 Special Election
2008 General Election
2008 Primary
2008 Special Election
2007 General Election
2007 Primary
2006 General Election
2006 Primary
2005 General Election
2005 Primary

Guess I am more qualified--if I only lived in the 8th!
Posted by socialismSux on August 5, 2010 at 7:16 PM · Report this
Rebecca F. 40
#1 Model, you can check that on the Secretary of State's website (at least for state-wide elections). Go to, and find MyVote. It will prompt you to enter your information and then it will give you really cool resources, including your voting history and a voter's guide personalized to which candidates will be on your ballot based on where you live. You should check it out.
Posted by Rebecca F. on October 20, 2010 at 6:06 PM · Report this
Hello my name is James R. Kalles I am running for the 1st Congressional District in Washington State in 2015. I want to bring back the United States to the People of it, and take it back or really BUY it back from the Federal Reserve Bank, and the World Bank that owns it. By bringing back the Constitution of the Country we can have the PEOPLE'S money once again and not this Privately own FedEx Reserve notes we have now. And we can pay off this so called National Debt. I have found the hole in the fence they hoped we would never find and before it's too late I am going to point it out to the People the same way JFK God rest his soul tried to do. want to know more? I hope you do You should come talk to me I may be crazy.. but I'm not about a tax plan that's fair? I have one, in the long run it will help more people buy and OWN their own home and land. and it's all in the CONSTITUTION.. no blood shed from our side.. Thank you p.s. find me on face book or on twitter @jimkalles
Posted by Jim Kalles on June 12, 2014 at 6:24 PM · Report this

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