Steve Beren

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Steve Beren (born September 9, 1951, New York, New York) is a speaker, writer, and political activist from Seattle, Washington. He is a pro-liberty conservative citizen in support of the U.S. led war against terrorism, and is actively involved in the Tea Party Movement. Beren attended the Tax Day Tea Party on April 15, 2009, as well the September 12, 2009 National Taxpayers Tea Party March on Washington, D.C.[1] Steve Beren has run twice for Congress, campaigning for the 2006 and 2008 elections.[2] Beren was the 2008 Republican candidate for U.S. Congress in Washington State's 7th Congressional District against incumbent Democratic Congressman Jim McDermott.[3] He had also been mentioned as a possible conservative candidate for city council in the Seattle 2007 elections.[4]

Steve Beren became a Christian in 1995. He and his wife live in the Seattle area where they are members of Christian Faith Center.[5] Furthermore, Beren has lived in Seattle since 1987, and is currently director of production operations for an internet marketing company.[6]

Former leftist

Born in New York City, Beren was raised in a non-religious, secular Jewish home and later became an atheist. From 1968 to 1990 he was an activist for the Socialist Workers Party, a party inspired by Leon Trotsky and a defender of Fidel Castro. Steve Beren was a socialist and Vietnam War protester in the 1960s and '70s. After settling in Seattle in 1987, he quit the SWP in 1990 and became a Democrat in 1992, voting twice for Bill Clinton and once for Al Gore. Seattle's two daily newspapers described him as a former Democrat and former liberal.[7]

In 1995, Steve Beren converted from atheism to Christianity. He became a Republican at age 52, during the 2004 Bush-Kerry campaign. The September 11, 2001 attacks were influential in his turn toward the Republican Party.[7] After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, he said, "[I] came to see that the Republican Party was far superior on foreign policy."[8] Since then he has become an evangelical Christian, a patriot, and a conservative Republican.

Campaign for Congress

Iraq War

Beren is an outspoken defender and advocate of the U.S. military commitment in Iraq, as a strong supporter of the Iraq war, the Patriot Act and the Bush administration's use of wiretapping to disrupt terrost networks and activities.[9] His campaigns 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.[10]

2006 elections

Beren 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."[9] Seattle Post-Intelligencer reporter Kristin Millares Bolt wrote that Beren had the "strident tones" of a true believer.[11]

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."[12] Also in 2006, Seattle Times editorial writer Ryan Blethen questioned Beren's qualifications and chances against an incumbent who has never received less than 72% of the vote in a general election.[13]

2008 elections

Steve Beren was the 2008 Republican challenger for U.S. Congress in Washington State's 7th Congressional District against incumbent Democratic Congressman Jim McDermott.[14] For the 2008 elections, Steve Beren, as the Republican Party candidate trying to unseat McDermott, said it was a mistake to ditch the Republican Party label.

He stated, "Have bold colors, wave the Republican flag boldly. Wave fiscal conservatism, social conservatism, immigration conservatism -- boldly."[15]

Beren's 2008 campaign website said, "Steve Beren is promoting conservative values, free market solutions, constitutional principles, and Republican policies right in the heart of Seattle and King County. Steve Beren stands for the GOP - the party of Abraham Lincoln - the party of Teddy Roosevelt - the party of Ronald Reagan. Steve Beren is running to help the overall effort of GOP campaigns in King County (, Washington (, and nationally ( While the 7th congressional district is heavily Democratic, even a small incremental increase in the GOP percentage will make a difference in the overall GOP effort."[16]

As in the 2006 elections, Beren acknowledged the difficulty of getting elected as a Republican in Seattle. The 10-term Jim McDermott is a liberal Democrat who has never gotten less than three-quarters of the vote in a re-election run. Despite the challenge, Steve Beren still ran a 30-second radio ad, urging Seattle's heavily Democratic voters: "C'mon, vote Republican for a change!"[17] Beren also stated, in his plan to drill more domestic oil, "I'll help John McCain and Sarah Palin shake things up."

For Beren, his race wasn't about winning or losing in the short term. It was about creating an atmosphere in Seattle's Seventh Congressional District which is encouraging enough to get some of the Emerald City's closet conservatives out to the polls. On elections night, Beren said, "We're sowing the seeds for the future."[18]


  1. Tax Day Tea Party,
  2. Aaron. Stimulus – Wasteful, harmful, job-killing, and a threat to liberty,, Republican Liberty Caucus, February 5, 2009.
  3. Steve Beren, changer extraordinaire: from Socialist to Republican
  4. Neil Modie. GOP seeking unlikely victories in Seattle,, December 20, 2006.
  5. Steve Beren biography
  6. Scott St. Clair. GOP journal: Report from a county convention,, April 28, 2008.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Bruce Ramsey. McDermott challenger knows a little something about the left, The Seattle Times,August 9, 2006.
  8. Emily Heffter. McDermott faces 5 challengers but no real re-election challenge, The Seattle Times, August 14, 2008.
  9. 9.0 9.1 David Postman. Sacrificial lamb or GOP star?, The Seattle Times, June 2, 2006.
  10. Joel Connelly. Beren for Congress, seattlepi, September 10, 2007.
  11. Kristin Millares Bolt. McDermott, rivals to debate tonight,, October 25, 2006.
  12. Joel Connelly. General urges U.S. to revise Iraq plan,, October 9, 2006.
  14. Bruce Ramsey. The Challenger to Jim McDermott, The Seattle Times, November 3, 2008.
  15. Dan Springer. Washington State Republicans Ditch Party Labels to Compete,, June 24, 2008.
  16. Steve Beren on Special Report with Brit Hume
  17. Emily Heffter. 'C'mon, vote Republican for a change!', The Seattle Times, October 2, 2008.
  18. Don Ward. Steve Beren On Election Night, Seattle Weekly, November 4, 2008.

External links

See also

Jim McDermott