Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Feb. 18, 2020

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David W. Hedrick: ‘I like to fight for what I believe’

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David Hedrick defends using Washington State Political Polls data that show him a front runner in the 3rd District race.
David Hedrick defends using Washington State Political Polls data that show him a front runner in the 3rd District race. Photo Gallery

The Columbian is profiling the six candidates who are running for the open 3rd Congressional District seat. With Democratic U.S. Rep. Brian Baird’s retirement from Congress, the seat representing Southwest Washington has grabbed national attention as one of a handful of toss-up congressional races in the nation.

Republicans see a chance to retake control of the U.S. House and their first opportunity in a dozen years to win the 3rd. Democrats hope to hold onto the seat by coalescing around a single leading candidate. Voters’ first chance to weigh in on this important race will come in the Aug. 17 top-two primary. Ballots will be mailed late next week.

In conjunction with this series, The Columbian is publishing all the candidates’ responses to its questionnaire on major issues that will face the next Congress. Those responses are available at http://www.columbian.com/politics.

o Wednesday: David Castillo, Republican.

o Thursday: Denny Heck, Democrat.

o Friday: Jaime Herrera, Republican.

o Today: David W. Hedrick, Republican; Cheryl Crist, Democrat; Norma Jean Stevens, Independent.

Republican

o Age: 31.

o Residence: Camas.

o Occupation: Management accountant.

o Political background: None.

o Campaign funds raised: $41,358.

o Quote: “I am not a career politician! Like you, I’m sick of career politicians bankrupting our nation and stealing our liberty.”

o Campaign website: www.david4congress.com

The Columbian is profiling the six candidates who are running for the open 3rd Congressional District seat. With Democratic U.S. Rep. Brian Baird's retirement from Congress, the seat representing Southwest Washington has grabbed national attention as one of a handful of toss-up congressional races in the nation.

Republicans see a chance to retake control of the U.S. House and their first opportunity in a dozen years to win the 3rd. Democrats hope to hold onto the seat by coalescing around a single leading candidate. Voters' first chance to weigh in on this important race will come in the Aug. 17 top-two primary. Ballots will be mailed late next week.

In conjunction with this series, The Columbian is publishing all the candidates' responses to its questionnaire on major issues that will face the next Congress. Those responses are available at http://www.columbian.com/politics.

o Wednesday: David Castillo, Republican.

o Thursday: Denny Heck, Democrat.

o Friday: Jaime Herrera, Republican.

o Today: David W. Hedrick, Republican; Cheryl Crist, Democrat; Norma Jean Stevens, Independent.

David W. Hedrick found his voice last August at a Vancouver town hall meeting on health care reform. He hasn’t stopped voicing his views since.

A self-described Tea Party Republican and a Marine Corps veteran, Hedrick is at ease on a stage with microphone in hand. A video clip of his tirade at U.S. Rep. Brian Baird’s August 2009 town hall on health care reform, at which he warned the federal government to “stay away from my kids” and told Baird, “You don’t have the right to tell me who I pick for my health insurance,” went viral on YouTube, receiving more than a million hits.

Hedrick became an instant celebrity, giving interviews to Fox News and stumping for other candidates on the national Tea Party circuit. On Fox’s Sean Hannity show last August, he accused the Obama administration of pursuing economic and political policies “almost line for line” in step with Nazism.

He filed for the 3rd Congressional District seat in November, shortly before Baird announced that he wouldn’t seek a seventh term in Congress.

Since then, Hedrick has built a growing core of supporters with his message that the federal government has overstepped its constitutional role and must be reined in. He’s delivered that message at candidate forums and on conservative talk radio and with a defiant speech at the state GOP convention in June that brought the crowd to its feet.

“I’m a constitutional candidate,” he told The Columbian’s editorial board. “I believe in strict adherence to the Constitution.”

Hedrick is unapologetic about his views and how he chooses to express them.

“I like to debate, to fight for what I believe,” he says. “I have core convictions.”

He recently raised eyebrows even among some Republicans, however, when he showed up for an interview with The Stranger, a liberal Seattle weekly, packing a handgun, for which he carried a concealed weapons permit.

He got crosswise with the Marine Corps last fall, when he advertised campaign products on his website featuring the Corps insignia, which is protected by copyright.

So who is David Hedrick?

He grew up on Orlando, Fla. His dad was a cop and Marine Corps veteran who started an audio-video company in the garage and turned it into a successful business — “with no help from the government,” Hedrick points out.

Republican

o Age: 31.

o Residence: Camas.

o Occupation: Management accountant.

o Political background: None.

o Campaign funds raised: $41,358.

o Quote: "I am not a career politician! Like you, I'm sick of career politicians bankrupting our nation and stealing our liberty."

o Campaign website: www.david4congress.com

Hedrick enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1997 at age 18, and spent part of his service as an infantry noncommissioned officer in Asia. He was discharged with a 30 percent disability, the result of an injury to his ankle during basic training at Camp Pendleton and a back injury he won’t discuss.

After his discharge, Hedrick spent some time in San Diego, working for the recall of California’s then-Gov. Gray Davis. He eventually enrolled at Washington State University Vancouver, where he earned a degree in business administration. Married with two young children, he works as a consultant to businesses that need help with balancing their budgets and increasing efficiency and profitability.

Right now, though, he’s spending 100 percent of his time on his campaign, and he believes he has a shot at placing in the top two in the Aug. 17 primary.

Hedrick has raised nearly $42,000. He polled even with Olympia Republican David Castillo, a former Bush administration official and former chief of staff to the House Republican caucus, in a June poll commissioned by the campaign of Republican candidate Rep. Jaime Herrera. In that poll of 300 residents of the 3rd District, Herrera held a substantial lead over her Republican opponents.

Hedrick told The Columbian editorial board “it’s unlikely” he would be running for Congress if not for the incident at the Baird town hall and its aftermath. “I would probably be working for another candidate,” he said. But he said he would definitely be playing a public role in either case.

“My passions and beliefs come out when I am on stage. I would describe it as a passionate argument for the Constitution.”

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