Although the final vote total in the August 5, 2014, blanket primary had not been announced, Celis declared victory over Robert Sutherland (R) on August 8. “It appears we have won and we have work to do for the general election, so we are moving forward,” Celis said. Celis' declaration of victory was confirmed in early September.
Celis earned a bachelor's degree in computer science from the Monterrey Institute of Technology. In 1980, Celis left Monterrey, Mexico to continue studying computer science at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, where he earned his master's in mathematics and his Ph.D. in computer science. He then worked as an assistant professor of computer science at Indiana University, a software designer at Britton Lee, Inc. and a distinguished engineer at Microsoft.
On June 19, 2014, the Evergreen Republican Women's Club Forum hosted a forum featuring Republican candidates: Celis, Ed Moats and Robert Sutherland. Each candidate told the audience why they were running for Congress and were asked questions about their stance on marriage and abortion. Here are excerpts from the candidates opening comments:
Celis said his campaign is “an extension of what I have done in my career, which is to be a problem-solver, to be a consensus builder, to find difficult problems where you are required to understand how to move things forward.”
Ed Moats: “I am a conservative Republican which means pro-property, pro-guns, pro-life, pro-marriage, pro-business, pro-military, pro-national defense, pro-oil, pro-coal, pro-agriculture, pro-energy independence."
Robert Sutherland: “We have a rich Microsoft exec ... a lawyer lobbyist. Then you have me, someone who has never run for office before. I am middle class. I am working class. I am one of you.”
During the question and answer session, Sutherland accused Celis of being "pro-choice" and in response he stated that "he's personally pro-life but the law does protect a woman's right to decide." Social conservatives, Sutherland and Moats are strongly anti-abortion and both oppose same-sex marriage. Celis also opposes same-sex marriage but noted that he supports civil unions.
Celis ran in the 2014 election for the U.S. House to represent Washington's1st District. Although the final vote total in the August 5, 2014, blanket primary had not been announced, Celis declared victory over Robert Sutherland (R) on August 8. “It appears we have won and we have work to do for the general election, so we are moving forward,” Celis said. Celis' declaration of victory was confirmed in early September. He was defeated by incumbent Suzan DelBene (D) in the general election. The general election took place November 4, 2014.
U.S. House, Washington District 1 General Election, 2014
In a YouTube video announcing his candidacy, Celis, an immigrant from Mexico, said, "In case you haven’t noticed, I’m the guy with the heavy accent." He then shared his story of success in America working for Microsoft. He blamed the government for interfering with the American Dream and said that it is not "as bright as it once was." He concluded by saying, "I love this country. I want it to be all that it can be. I want it always to be the land of freedom and equal opportunity."
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Candidates for Congress were required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Celis' reports.