Washington: Rick Larsen Backs Suzan DelBene

Rep. Rick Larsen is endorsing a candidate for Washington's vacant 1st district seat, parts of which he currently represents. (Tom Williams/CQ Rolll Call File Photo)

Rep. Rick Larsen (D) is endorsing former Microsoft executive Suzan DelBene in Washington state's open and redrawn 1st district, a large portion of which Larsen currently represents.

This is the second major endorsement for DelBene in the past two days in her bid to succeed former Rep. Jay Inslee (D), who resigned to run for governor. Gov. Christine Gregoire (D) backed DelBene on Monday.

"I have been watching the race closely and evaluating the Democratic candidates," Larsen said in a statement today. "I am looking for the person who can best run the kind of modern campaign that mixes the necessary organization, outreach to the big and small towns, and resources to deliver the positive message of restoring the middle class and protecting Medicare."

DelBene, who lost to Rep. Dave Reichert (R) in the 8th district in 2010, has raised the most money through the first quarter and had the most in cash on hand at the end of March.

"Suzan DelBene has put together the kind of organization to win the primary and this fall," Larsen continued. "I am not surprised by this as it reflects her success in business putting together successful organizations."

This is the most competitive district in the state after the bipartisan redistricting committee redrew the lines in December. John Koster (R), whom Larsen defeated in the 2nd district in both 2000 and 2010, was drawn into the 1st and is expected to emerge from the August top-two primary to face one of several Democrats vying for the seat, including DelBene, Darcy Burner and Steve Hobbs.

The reconfigured district includes most of Whatcom, Skagit and Snohomish counties, which Larsen currently represents. He told Roll Call in January that the candidates, most of whom reached out to him for advice, need to take a "different approach to each of these places."

"The issue overall in the district will still be jobs and the economy," he said then. "But you even have to talk about it differently, depending on where you are."