Denny Heck plans to seek a state congressional seat again next year; he’s just not sure which one.
The Olympia Democrat lost in November to Republican Jaime Herrera Beutler in his bid to represent the 3rd District, which covers most of Southwest Washington.
Heck filed papers with the Federal Election Commission last month so he can begin collecting funds for a new campaign — in a congressional district to be named later.
Heck publicly professes no preference in congressional district. However, he initially filed for the state’s new 10th District, then re-filed papers with no district named, The Seattle Times first reported.
That move makes sense, as Heck’s Thurston County home could end up in any of three or four districts after the Washington State Redistricting Commission finishes its work late this year. Washington is getting a 10th district for the 2012 election cycle as a result of population growth, and some South Sound advocates hope it contains all of Thurston County.
The county currently is divided between the 3rd and 9th districts.
“I know I will live in a congressional district, and I know there is a process under way for determining where the lines go. I am very optimistic those people will produce a product that works for the people of Washington state,” Heck said of the bipartisan commission. “But I do believe that Thurston County is likely to be reunited in one congressional district.”
Heck is a politician-turned-entrepreneur who became wealthy through investments in startup businesses. He co-founded the TVW public affairs network, served as the chief of staff to then-Gov. Booth Gardner and served as a state legislator from Vancouver for about a decade beginning in the mid-1980s.
In some respects, little has changed since he ran last year on a job creation and clean-energy platform. He finished first in the August primary field of six but lost to Herrera Beutler, of Camas. Democrat Brian Baird had held the seat for six terms in a district that had been trending more red than blue.
Herrera Beutler campaigned on reducing debt, on reducing taxes, and against the federal stimulus and federal health reform.
By contrast, Heck supported the Obama administration’s efforts to resurrect the national economy through a stimulus package, and he cited reports crediting the stimulus for sustaining or creating millions of jobs. He also supported the Affordable Health Care Act reform backed by national Democrats but had misgivings that it did not do more to control health costs.
Heck said he has no comment about Herrera Beutler or her work in office.
Herrera Beutler spoke before a Rotary group in Tumwater recently, saying the government needs to ensure that Medicare stays solvent for retirees. She had voted in favor of Republican U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan’s proposal for Medicare vouchers and said interest costs related to the national debt are a serious threat to economic recovery.
Heck said he wants to end tax subsidies for “Big Oil” interests, promote clean energy through subsidies and make it a national priority to be a global leader in clean-energy technologies. Heck said China is out-investing the U.S. in alternative energy and that an American failure to respond means a prolonged dependence on foreign oil. Heck said he also wants national policies to promote manufacturing in the U.S., avoiding a further loss of skills in the sector, including machinists.
Heck has a student, Phil Gardner of University Place, working on his campaign, and a campaign manager will come later. He said he does not know if he’ll put his own money into the race as he did last time.