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VOTERS should return the Democratic incumbents in the 7th and 9th congressional districts to office. None of their challengers make a strong case to do differently.

In the 9th Congressional District, which stretches from Tacoma to Bellevue, voters should keep U.S. Rep. Adam Smith, D-Bellevue, a stalwart and thoughtful representative.

Smith is a nuanced thinker and ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, which makes him a key advocate for this region’s military interests and an influential voice on U.S. involvement in armed conflicts abroad.

He supports withdrawing from Afghanistan and a political solution to the growing conflict with terrorists in Iraq before putting boots on the ground.

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Earlier this year, Smith sponsored legislation to create more transparency and improve living conditions inside the controversial Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma. He should continue to push for alternatives to detention that would preserve human rights and possibly save taxpayer dollars.

Smith’s primary opponents, Democrat Don Rivers and independent Mark Greene, are perennial candidates. Republican challenger Doug Basler works in marketing, but has hardly waged a campaign.

Twenty-six years in office is a long time, but U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Seattle, grasps issues important to the 7th Congressional District better than his four fringe challengers.

Trained as a psychiatrist, he provides an important voice in the uphill battle to fix, not repeal, the Affordable Care Act. McDermott specifically wants to negotiate prices on pharmaceuticals, change how medical education is paid for so doctors serve areas that need the most help, revise the Medicaid payment system and cut down on fraud.

Though an unabashed liberal, McDermott is working across the aisle by co-sponsoring a bill with U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Penn., to reform aspects of the nation’s troubled psychiatric crisis response system.

Seattle voters would probably benefit from a fresh perspective in Washington, D.C., but with no viable challengers in this race, they ought to stick with McDermott.

Editorial board members are editorial page editor Kate Riley, Frank A. Blethen, Ryan Blethen, Sharon Pian Chan, Lance Dickie, Jonathan Martin, Erik Smith, Thanh Tan, William K. Blethen (emeritus) and Robert C. Blethen (emeritus).

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