With ballots mailed and negative ads airing on TV, congressional candidates Suzan DelBene and John Koster laid into each other this morning during a taping for KING TV’s political talk show, Up Front with Robert Mak. The show will air Sunday, but KING let me sit in, and the debate between the candidates veered quickly off the usual talking points and got heated fast.
“John Koster has crossed the line. He has been sneaking around my house taking pictures,” DelBene said, referring to a photo on the Koster campaign website of her house in Medina. “It’s frankly creepy.”
Koster barely had time to deny it before they were on to the next round. The two argued about DelBene’s wealth (“Not such a middle class life as perhaps portrayed,” Koster said. DelBene responded: “I’ve been through what people have been through all through our district.”) They tussled over each other’s voting records. They discussed abortion rights, which DelBene supports and Koster, though opposed, said he would uphold since it’s the law.
DelBene brought up a piece I wrote about a speech Koster gave last year in which he said too much government assistance contributes to “slothfulness” and “laziness.” Koster said on KING that unfilled fruit-picking jobs in Eastern Washington are proof that “people take advantage of programs” like welfare.
Koster brought up a whistleblower’s accusation that the state Department of Revenue did a $2 million favor for a politically influential taxpayer during DelBene’s tenure there as director. DelBene called the claim, which the state auditor’s office is investigating, “a baseless accusation from a very desperate campaign at this point.”
The newly redrawn 1st District, which runs from Redmond to the Canadian border, is nearly evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans.
Up Front airs Sunday at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 p.m. on KING, at 10 a.m. on KONG, and at 8 p.m. on Northwest Cable News.
As for the photo of DelBene’s house, it appears to have been taken from a boat. DelBene’s spokesman says the position of the umbrella indicates the photo was taken this summer. Koster’s assistant campaign manager said they didn’t take the photo, but found it on the Internet.