$2,500 to talk with Boehner, Herrera Beutler

Fundraiser in Vancouver home set for Sept. 24

By Stephanie Rice, Columbian Vancouver city government reporter

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House Speaker John A. Boehner will appear this month at a fundraising event for U.S. Rep Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas.

Invitations are being sent out for a $2,500-per-person “roundtable discussion” with Boehner, R-Ohio, and Herrera Beutler at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 24 at the Vancouver home of auto magnate Dick Hannah.

There will be a 9 a.m. breakfast, which costs $500 per person.

The invitation notes that contributions are limited to $5,000 per person or $10,000 per couple.

Herrera Beutler will be up for re-election next year.

The freshman congresswoman defeated Democrat Denny Heck last year to represent the 3rd District, which covers most of Southwest Washington.

According to the Federal Elections Commission, between Jan. 1 and June 30 she raised $438,187 for her re-election campaign.

She’s got a war chest, she’s got Boehner, but she doesn’t yet have an opponent.

Democratic Party Chairman Dwight Pelz has said the party will recruit a strong candidate to run against Herrera Beutler in 2012.

“I absolutely think she’s beatable,” he said this summer.

 Pelz doesn’t expect a candidate to enter the race until the commission that is redrawing the state’s congressional and legislative district boundaries completes its work at the end of this year.

Because the fast-growing 3rd District must shrink in size, many observers expect it will lose heavily Democratic Thurston County, the seat of state government and home to many state employees, changing the 3rd from a swing district to one that leans Republican.

Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt said Wednesday he’s still having conversations with people about the viability of having enough money to run a Congressional race.

He said local Democrats are also trying to recruit what he called a “pure D” Democrat, as he describes himself as a moderate.

As for the Sept. 24 breakfast, no other details were available Wednesday, at least not to a reporter who was not asking to buy a ticket.

Hannah, who donated $1,500 last year to Herrera Beutler’s campaign, did not immediately return a message Wednesday seeking comment.

Herrera Beutler’s campaign staff referred calls to Cory Fritz on Team Boehner; Fritz did not immediately return a phone call or an email seeking more details on why the in-demand Boehner agreed to make an appearance in Vancouver.

No word on what kind of roundtable discussion can be had in 30 minutes, what food will be served or how many people are expected to attend, but according to county property records, there’s room for quite a party.

Hannah’s $3.8 million dollar home along the Columbia River has a main floor measuring 8,700 square feet.

Kathie Durbin contributed to this article.