Dem’s gibe at Herrera miffs GOP

'Palinesque,' 'short of substance' remark called sexist

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LONGVIEW — A Republican Party leader blasted a Democratic official Thursday for what she called “sexist” and “degrading” remarks about State Representative and congressional hopeful Jaime Herrera.

On Tuesday, Washington State Democratic Party chairman Dwight Pelz compared Herrera to former Alaska Gov. and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

Pelz said Herrera is “Palinesque” and called her “long on style, short of substance.”

“It’s disgraceful that the moment a female minority candidate comes on the scene, Democrats pounce on the opportunity to demean and belittle her,” according to a statement released by GOP National Committeewoman Fredi Simpson. “As a Hispanic female, I am shocked at Chairman Pelz’s recent sexist and degrading remarks about a fellow Hispanic female’s looks, while disregarding her intelligence.”

Herrera, a 31-year-old Camas Republican, announced this week that she will run to replace 3rd District Congressman Brian Baird, D-Vancouver, who will not seek a seventh term next year. Herrera was appointed to the Legislature in 2007, and voters sent her back to the post in 2008.

Simpson continued: “Obviously, the Chairman and his Democrat Party feel threatened by this accomplished young woman and need to resort to childish antics of name-calling to distract from the real issues.

“Be assured that the Republicans in this race will best serve Southwest Washington constituents by talking about the issues that are truly important to Washington’s families,” she said. “Is this what we should continue to expect from the Democrat Party — more belittling of women?”

In an interview Thursday, Pelz said, “I stand by my comparison. Jaime Herrera is a political novice and a right-wing Republican, and I think she has a lot in common with Sarah Palin.”

Pelz also said: “I compared her to Sarah Palin, and the Republican Party apparently thinks that’s an insult, so they must not think much of Sarah Palin.”

Herrera told The Daily News Tuesday that Peliz is “right in once sense. I am not an entrenched politician. I am not more of the same. I am not your tax-and-spend leader who thinks, ‘When we get in a tough time, we’ll just raise taxes on families; we’ll just raise taxes on businesses.’”

Tony Lystra: tlystra@tdn.com; 360-575-6210.