Steve Beren (born September 9, 1951, New York, New York) is an American speaker, writer, and political activist from Seattle, Washington. Beren was also the 2008 Republican candidate for U.S. Congress in Washington State's 7th Congressional District against incumbent Democratic Congressman Jim McDermott.[1] He has set up an exploratory committee for another possible campaign against McDermott in 2010.[2]

Beren is an outspoken defender and advocate of the U.S. military commitment in Iraq. His campaigns have emphasized the issues of foreign policy, immigration, the economy, and social conservatism. His goal is to start rebuilding the Republican Party in Seattle, and to get dialogue going on major issues.[3] Beren has been quoted by Fox News as saying that Republicans should "have bold colors, wave the Republican flag boldly; wave fiscal conservatism, social conservatism, immigration conservatism — boldly.[4]

Involvement in "Tea Party" Protests

On August 12, 2009, when McDermott was scheduled to speak on healthcare to a Democratic Party meeting in Seattle, Beren initiated a call for a Tea Party protest outside the meeting. Beren had addressed an open letter to Obama that concludes: "Your socialized medicine plan would restrict our liberty, increase government control over our lives...and contradict some already existing rights."[5]

Speaking at a Seattle rally which was part of the April 15, 2009 Tea Party protests, Beren criticized politicians of both parties, including Arlen Specter, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid.[6][7]

2008 Election Campaign

Of the six candidates on the August 19, 2008 mixed party "top two" primary ballot, Beren was the only Republican, placing second and qualifying for the general election ballot.[8] A few days before the primary, the Seattle Times called Beren "the longest of longshots" to unseat Congressman McDermott despite being a "Republican rising star."[9]

In the November 4, 2008 general election, Beren trailed McDermott by a margin of 84%-16%[10] Initial election night returns showed Beren with 21,016 votes in the strongly Democratic 7th Congressional District, compared to McDermott's 115,000. Beren was running slightly ahead of Republican presidential candidate John McCain, who had 20,131 votes in the 7th Congressional District as of election night.[11]

Beren had been mentioned as a possible candidate for city council in the Seattle 2007 elections.[12]

2006 Election Campaign

Beren also opposed McDermott in 2006, receiving 16% of the vote against McDermott's 79%. In 2006, the main issues Beren's campaign focused on were victory in the war against terrorism, tough border security, limited government, and energy independence.

During the 2006 campaign, Seattle Times columnist David Postman criticized Beren's immigration stance and argued that Beren's candidacy would not "appeal to the state's most liberal congressional district."[13] Seattle Post-Intelligencer reporter Kristen Millares Bolt wrote that Beren had the "strident tones" of a true believer.[14]

In reporting on one of Beren's 2006 debates with McDermott, Seattle Post-Intelligencer columnist Joel Connelly said Beren resorted to "Vietnam-era sound bites" and "displays a convert's zealotry toward the Iraq conflict."[15] Also in 2006, Seattle Times editorial writer Ryan Blethen questioned Beren's qualifications and chances against an incumbent who "is assured of winning again by a wide margin."[16]

During their October 5, 2006 debate in Shoreline, Washington, Congressman McDermott said of Beren, "having listened to my opponent here, I think you have a clear choice.... If you like what George Bush has done to this country for the last six years, vote for Steve because he needs another one - he needs another vote."

Personal information

Born in New York City, Beren states that he was raised in a nominal Jewish home and later became an atheist. From 1968 to 1990 he was an activist for the Socialist Workers Party and a defender of Fidel Castro.[17] By 1990 he quit the SWP due to exhaustion with it. After that he joined the Democratic Party. In 1995 he converted to Christianity.[17] He remained with the Democratic Party until 2004. The September 11, 2001 attacks led to his turn toward to the Political Right and at age 52 he became a Republican.[18]

Beren has lived in Seattle since 1987, and is currently director of production operations for an internet marketing company. He and his wife are members of Christian Faith Center.

External links

  1. Modie, Neil (2008-01-21). "State's U.S. House seats don't flip parties easily". Seattle PI. Retrieved 2009-10-14. 
  2. Beren, Steve. "Steve Beren 2010 Exploratory Committee". Beren For Congress. Retrieved 2009-10-14. 
  3. Connelly, Joel (September 10, 2007). "Beren for Congress". Strange Bedfellows. Retrieved 2009-10-14. 
  4. Springer, Dan (Tuesday, June 24, 2008). "Washington State Republicans Ditch Party Labels to Compete". Retrieved 2009-10-14. 
  5. Connelly, Joel (August 12, 2009). "McDermott on health care reform: 'This is war'". Strange Bedfellows. Retrieved 2009-10-14. 
  6. Ward, Don (April 16 2009). "Tea Party Post Mortem". Civics 101. Seattle Weekly. Retrieved 2009-10-14. 
  7. Beren, Steve (4/15/09). "Video: Steve Beren Seattle Tax Day Tea Party Speech (4/15/09)". Beren For Congress. Retrieved 2009-10-14. 
  8. Reed, Sam. "August 19, 2008 Top 2 Primary". Elections. Washington Secretary of State. Retrieved 2009-10-14. 
  9. Heffter, Emily (August 14, 2008). "McDermott faces 5 challengers but no real re-election challenge". Election 2008 (Seattle Times). Retrieved 2009-10-14. 
  10. Reed, Sam. "November 4, 2008 General Election". Elections. Washington Secretary of State. Retrieved 2009-10-14. 
  11. "Statement of Votes Cast". King County Elections. 11/07/08. Retrieved 2009-10-14. 
  12. Modie, Neil (December 20, 2006). "GOP seeking unlikely victories in Seattle". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2009-10-14. 
  13. Postman, David (June 2, 2006). "Sacrificial lamb or GOP star?". On Politics (Seattle Times). Retrieved 2009-10-14. 
  14. Millares Bolt, Kristen (October 25, 2006). "McDermott, rivals to debate tonight". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2009-10-14. 
  15. Connelly, Joel (October 9, 2006). "General urges U.S. to revise Iraq plan". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2009-10-14. 
  16. Blethen, Ryan (October 27, 2006). "There should be a place for a candidate like this". On Politics (Seattle Times). Retrieved 2009-10-14. 
  17. 17.0 17.1 Beren, Steve (May 9, 2005 (slightly revised December 29, 2008)). "The Liberal Elite, Paranoia, Moral Values, and the War Against Terrorism (part 2 of 2)". Steve Beren. Retrieved 2009-10-14. 
  18. Ramsey, Bruce (August 9, 2006). "McDermott challenger knows a little something about the left". Seattle Times. Retrieved 2009-10-14. 

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