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July 11, 2012 at 6:37 AM

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Voters of the 1st Congressional District should beware of becoming victims in a politically manipulative tug-of-war

SteveHobbs_2[1].JPGOn the one hand, voters in the new 1st Congressional District are fortunate to have an array of intelligent and qualified candidates from which to choose. Our editorial endorsement interview of six of the seven candidates a couple of weeks ago was robust, efficient and respectful.

From this impressive field, The Times editorial board strongly recommends voters elect state Sen. Steve Hobbs, shown at right. He is the only centrist among the group of five Democrats, one Republican and one independent.

But let's get to the other hand. With so much at stake in this newly configured district, which stretches from Redmond to the Canadian border, the political shenanigans are bound to vigorous as well. Times reporter Jonathan Martin recently reported on two disappointing tactics.

In one case, a political action committee was formed to sink Democratic front-runner Suzan DelBene with mailers casting aspersions on her career as a high-tech executive. Her spokesman, Viet Shelton, said "It's an over-the-top, shady, underhanded campaign tactic. And it's misleading. A major issue in this instance is whether the PAC will disclose its funders as required July 20 or use ruse to conceal them.

Martin also reported on the Wikipedia "war" being waged on Democrat Darcy Burner's Wikipedia page with references to her history being removed, while Burners' camp is trying to add them back.

Hobbs himself has been a target of such sinister obfuscation himself when he and fellow moderate Democrat Sen. Jean Berkey, D-Everett, were targeted in their re-election campaigns two years ago. Moxie Media, a Seattle consulting firm, targeted both and ended up paying a $110,000 fine in a legal settlement with the state Attorney General for violating rules with their tactics. Berkey was defeated, in part because of a phony mailer sent by the firm with liberal ties that attacked Berkey from the right.

More of this to come, no doubt. Voters should beware.

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