Republican, Democrat run against incumbent Herrera Beutler

Candidates for 3rd Congressional District offer views

By Lauren Dake, Columbian political writer



3rd Congressional District Candidates

Jaime Herrera Beutler

Age: 35.

Residence: Camas.

Party: Republican.

Past elected positions: Current U.S. Rep. 3rd Congressional District, State Representative for the 18th Legislative District.

Current occupation: U.S. Rep. 3rd Congressional District.

Education: University of Washington.

Top endorsements: "I'm humbled to have the support of Republicans, Democrats and Independents from across Southwest Washington in my campaign for Congress. There are too many individuals to name here."

Cash on hand: $763,915.

Bob Dingethal

Age: 58.

Residence: Ridgefield.

Party: Democrat.

Past elected positions: None.

Current occupation: On leave from post as executive director of the Gifford Pinchot Task Force, an environmental nonprofit.

Education: San Jose State University; master's in public affairs from Washington State University, Vancouver.

Top endorsements: Former U.S. Rep. Brian Baird, Washington State Labor Council, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, United Association of Plumbers and Steamfitters, Vancouver Fire Fighters IAFF 452.

Cash on hand: $12,070.

Michael Delavar

Age: 40.

Residence: Washougal.

Party: Republican.

Past elected positions: Washougal City Council, 2009 to 2011.

Current occupation: Airline pilot.

Education: University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

Top endorsements: "Average citizens concerned about the trampling of our Constitution."

Cash on hand: $5,390.

U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, is facing a challenger on both the right, Michael Delavar, and the left, Bob Dingethal, in the race to represent the 3rd Congressional District.

Herrera Beutler, first elected in 2010, has said she's running for a third term in part because she doesn't believe anyone will work harder to represent Southwest Washington.

Delavar, a Republican who was once a supporter of Herrera Beutler, blasted her as a liberal and said she should have backed her party rather than calling for the end of the government shutdown in 2013. The Democratic candidate, Dingethal, said it's time to work to bolster the middle class, properly fund the nation's public schools and move past partisan gridlock that has paralyzed Congress.

Both Delavar, a Washougal pilot, and Dingethal, who is on leave from his position as executive director of the Gifford Pinchot Task Force, take issue with what they characterized as the incumbent's reluctance to hold more traditional town halls.

Last week, the U.S. House voted on a measure intended to help banks deal with legal marijuana shops without fear of being prosecuted for breaking federal law. Herrera Beutler voted against the measure. She did not vote in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana.

Herrera Beutler has "witnessed in our communities the negative impacts that can stem from marijuana use," her spokesman Casey Bowman wrote in an email, adding it's "not an easy issue for her."

On the topic of pot, both Delavar and Dingethal disagree with the incumbent, although for different reasons.

Dingethal, who is in favor of decriminalizing marijuana, said the state needs the revenue and it's not a good idea to push using the drug back into the shadows.

"I think it would be disingenuous to support states' rights to vote this in and then not find a way to make it workable," Dingethal said.

Delavar — whose main platform is strict adherence to the Constitution — said prohibition is not within the federal government's jurisdiction and it should be left up to the state's to decide.

"I'll let them reflect the will of the voters without trying to impose my will upon them," Delavar said.

Delavar's stance on guns has proven controversial. Although he said it's not a central platform to his campaign, he believes people with criminal histories should not be prohibited from owning firearms. The Constitution, he said, is clear: "the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

Herrera Beutler said it's important to keep guns out of the hands of people who have mental health issues but that she is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and people shouldn't be limited unduly.

Dingethal said it's time to stop letting powerful lobbyists, such as the National Rifle Association, dictate our nation's gun laws. He's a proponent of stricter gun laws.

Both Herrera Beutler and Delavar believe the Affordable Care Act should be repealed, Dingethal said it establishes a great framework.

Delavar is in favor of Vancouver's proposed oil-by-rail terminal, while Dingethal is opposed. Herrera Beutler declined to take a hard stand, saying instead she believes her role is to push for higher safety standards.

"With regard to the oil terminal, the siting decision is up to the state, and the affected city is having a healthy debate on whether it makes sense for the area," Bowman said. "That's exactly what should be happening, and since there isn't a federal role in the siting decision the community doesn't need its federal representative grandstanding, making promises she can't keep, and confusing the issue. The federal role here is ensuring safety in the transportation system, and that's where Jaime has appropriately placed her focus."

Ed board: 3rd Congressional District