Six terms into his congressional career, U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Everett, needed a strong challenger. He did not get one.

All incumbents should be tested and forced to defend their records, but for this election with two critical years ahead for the next Congress, it is especially important.

Republican Dan Matthews of Mukilteo was endorsed in the primary as the challenger who could best hold Larsen accountable. As it turned out, Matthews cannot articulate why he is running, let alone mount a credible challenge to Larsen’s record in office.

Matthews served his country with distinction in the military, and now works as a contract instructor pilot for Boeing. He served a stint on a local school board in the 1980s. The challenger is financing most of his campaign. Long, vague answers to questions have the ring of candidate prep school.

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The redrawn 2nd Congressional District takes in all of San Juan and Island counties, and parts of Skagit, Whatcom and Snohomish counties. Larsen has a consistent record of constituent service ranging from local waterway dredging to veterans’ facilities and retaining Naval Station Everett. He earned Boeing’s thanks for his support of efforts to secure the contract for the Air Force refueling tanker.

As noted in our primary endorsement, we have long-standing issues with Larsen on Internet neutrality, which requires Internet service providers to treat the movement of all online content equally. However, a recent vote by Larsen was supportive.

He supports Referendum 74 to approve same-sex marriage in Washington, and he is a vote to change the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Matthews does not support R-74 or repeal of DOMA.

The proposed coal terminal at Cherry Point, north of Bellingham, has Larsen’s support, but he also wants broad environmental reviews of the plans.

The Times endorsement in this race was wide open through this election season. The voters needed a choice and did not got a real option. Larsen is endorsed for re-election.