A Republican has emerged to challenge U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler in the 2014 election.
Washougal airline pilot Michael Delavar, a board member of the Clark County Republican Party and a former Washougal City Council member, announced over the weekend that he intends to run against the Camas Republican. He said he’s unhappy with Herrera Beutler’s voting record on budget issues and her support of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, which affirmed President Obama’s authority to detain U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism involvement.
“I am tired of congressional representatives, like Herrera Beutler, playing political theater with the budget,” Delavar said in his announcement. “There are solutions to the budget dilemmas, but kicking the can down the road only increases the size of the correction.”
Delavar was one of 14 Clark County GOP board members to send a letter to Herrera Beutler earlier this month that criticized her vote to end the partial government shutdown and extend the nation’s borrowing limit. In the letter, the board said her vote was a disappointing surrender in the fight to reduce the nation’s debt.
On Oct. 15, Herrera Beutler said she no longer supported House Republicans’ budget negotiation demands that the 2010 Affordable Care Act, which critics call Obamacare, be dismantled or defunded. She said it was time for her colleagues to “face reality” and seek more practical ways to change it.
Delavar also ran for Congress in 2008, when he unsuccessfully challenged former 3rd District Rep. Brian Baird, a Democrat. Delavar served about two years on the Washougal City Council and lost his bid for re-election in 2011.
Delavar said his campaign is “all about liberty,” and that he wants to bring U.S. soldiers home, end government surveillance without a warrant, and require a trial for all prisoners in the U.S.
“It doesn’t matter whether you are a suspect in a crime or not, the NSA is storing your Internet activity,” Delavar said. “We need to bind our government by the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits this activity.”
On his campaign website, Delavar said the federal government should leave many of its policy decisions up to individual states. Delavar said as a member of Congress he would need to answer yes to three questions before voting in favor of a bill: “Is it authorized by the Constitution? Does it protect your life, liberty or property? Can we afford it?”
At last year’s Clark County Republican Convention, Delavar supported presidential candidate Ron Paul, rather than the presumptive Republican nominee at the time, Mitt Romney. Delavar is married with two children. His wife, Katja Delavar, was co-chair of Paul’s campaign in Washington state, and attended the Republican National Convention as a Paul delegate.
Herrera Beutler, first elected to Congress in 2010, hasn’t officially announced her intentions to run for re-election. However, her campaign is actively raising money and has more than $500,000 on hand, according to the Federal Election Commission.
Having a Republican challenger won’t change Herrera Beutler’s priorities in Congress, her spokesman, Casey Bowman, said by email Monday.
“She welcomes anyone who wishes to engage in public service to run for office,” Bowman wrote. Herrera Beutler’s “focus won’t change from problem solving and promoting better economic opportunities for the people of Southwest Washington.”
It’s unknown whether the Clark County GOP will support Delavar, Herrera Beutler or both candidates in the 2014 election. According to its bylaws, the party will not make that endorsement until after the primary election, Clark County GOP chairwoman, Lynda Wilson, said. She also said that until Delavar’s announcement, she wasn’t aware he planned to run.
A Democratic candidate in the race has yet to come forward.