The three-person primary race for the representative from Washington's 3rd Congressional District presents a sharp contrast in philosophies that gives voters a variety of choices. The Columbian recommends that Republican Jaime Herrera Beutler and Democrat Bob Dingethal advance to the general election.
Republican Michael Delavar also is challenging Herrera Beutler, the incumbent, in the Aug. 5 primary. The top two vote-getters will move on to the Nov. 4 election that will determine Southwest Washington's representative in Congress.
As always, The Columbian's recommendations are merely suggestions. When it comes to elections, particularly Congressional races, there is no shortage of opportunities for voters to cull information about the candidates and the issues, and we trust that the public will be informed in making a decision. Our editorials are designed to add fodder to the discussion.
Herrera Beutler, who is seeking a third term in office, has carved out a position that is rare these days as a moderate Republican. While some have questioned her moderate credentials, her voting record and the list of bills she has sponsored or co-sponsored confirms her relative bona fides in terms of seeking compromise and reaching out to Democrats. Last year, when Republicans forced a shutdown of the federal government in an effort to scuttle the Affordable Care Act, Herrera Beutler said, "Nothing positive will be achieved by prolonging this shutdown any longer, or crossing the debt limit threshold. It's time for my colleagues to face reality."
Still, Herrera Beutler adheres to Republican philosophies. She believes Obamacare should be repealed, she criticizes oppressive regulations that hurt job growth and she supports the proposed Keystone pipeline.
Dingethal, a Democrat who is on leave as executive director of the Gifford Pinchot Task Force, believes there is a role for government in addressing the nation's problems. For example, on the debate over gun control, he said, "The amount of gun violence in this country is a national disgrace. We need to get over this and address it; it's really, really sad." On education, he said, "Education is an investment that pays dividends to everyone." And regarding the nation's infrastructure, he said, "We need to improve our crumbling roads and bridges to put people back to work and support the needs of a growing economy."
Dingethal emphasizes the need for the nation to grow its middle class and says of any proposed tax increases, "You need to sell the reason."
Delavar is a strict constitutionalist and a strong supporter of state's rights, and his website says, "The fact is that Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler has betrayed campaign promises and her duty to protect life, liberty, and property." Delavar's uncompromising view is reflected by a belief that felons who have served their time or those who have been served with restraining orders should have an unalienable right to gun ownership. But using that logic, sex offenders who have served their sentences should be allowed contact with children. As conservative radio host Lars Larson surmised after interviewing Delavar, "If you want to vote for a guy who believes that domestic abusers, nuts and felons should be able to own guns, it's Michael Delavar."
Herrera Beutler and Dingethal present more thoughtful, balanced approaches to solving the nation's problems. We recommend that they move on to the November general election.
Coming Monday: Clark County Sheriff