Update: 5:45 p.m. Some of the platform statements released by Republican congressional candidate Pedro Celis on Friday copied lines from two Virginia Republican candidates Celis’ new communications director had previously worked for.
For example, as part of his energy policy statement, Celis says he opposes government subsidies for alternative energy: “If there is a new source of energy that has little environmental impact and reduces the energy costs of the consumer, I am confident that the private sector will provide the necessary investments to bring that energy to market.”
Compare that with a snippet of what E.W. Jackson, a conservative Republican who ran for lieutenant governor in Virginia last year, said on the subject: “If there is a new source of energy that has little environmental impact and reduces the energy costs of the consumer, I am confident that the private sector will provide the necessary investments to bring that energy to market.”
In another part of his issues page, Celis says he supports “a Balanced Budget Amendment in order to force Congress to rein in the out of control spending and to restore confidence in the American economy.”
That would sound familiar to supporters of Virginia Republican David Brat, who upset House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in June. Brat’s issues page states: “I will support a balanced budget amendment which will force Congress to rein in the out-of-control federal spending and restore confidence in the American economy.”
There are other similarities, too, though most are less obvious. I asked Gray Delany, Celis’ new communications director for an explanation. He acknowledged he copied some material from position papers he’d helped write for other candidates. (Delany worked for both Brat and Jackson.)
Gray said in an email:
“Thank you Jim for pointing this out. The two quotes above are positions I wrote and were part of the issue positions released today. They are core Republican principles. Our $17 trillion dollar debt is not a problem unique to Virginia. It is an issue that concerns all Americans. Pedro is committed to solving the biggest issues facing our country such as our $17 trillion dollar debt and $127 trillion of unfunded liabilities. Suzan DelBene has been a rubber stamp for the agenda of President Obama and Nancy Pelosi, voting with them 94% of the time. She is for the status quo which means more debt, more spending, and more regulations. The difference between the candidates could not be more stark.”
Fresh from a shakeup of his campaign team, Republican Congressional candidate Pedro Celis announced a relaunch of his website Friday, adding new issues statements his campaign dubbed “innovative solutions, not D.C. talking points.”
Celis, a former top Microsoft engineer, is working to bounce back from a weak primary showing as he challenges first-term Democratic U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene in the swing 1st Congressional District, which stretches from the King County suburbs of Kirkland and Redmond to the Canadian border.
On his rebooted website, Celis outlines positions on immigration (“we can’t even start the debate until our elected officials lead on border security”), the federal budget (“I will support a Balanced Budget Amendment in order to force Congress to rein in out of control spending…”) and regulation (“every federal regulation with an economic impact of at least $100 million should be voted on by Congress.”)
In a new twist, Celis also declares support for term limits, saying politicians who spend too much time in D.C. lose touch with the people. “I pledge to limit myself to no more than six terms in office,” Celis vowed.
Term-limit pledges were once in vogue among Republicans, but have become less common — in part because some high-profile pols reneged on their promises.
Celis’ six-term vow is twice as long as the most famous — or infamous — term-limit pledge by a Washington politician. In 1994, Republican George Nethercutt, a Spokane attorney, vowed to serve only three terms during his campaign against U.S. House Speaker Tom Foley in Eastern Washington’s 5th District.
Nethercutt defeated Foley in an historic upset. But Nethercutt busted his term-limit promise in 2000 and went on to serve a total of five terms before running unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 2006. He then went to work as a D.C. lobbyist.
DelBene has not endorsed term limits, according to her campaign manager, Viet Shelton. Her campaign’s issues website includes calls for raising taxes on the rich (the “Buffett” rule), raising the minimum wage, and ensuring equal pay for women.