Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s clean-shaven face was projected on a large video screen at the Hilton Vancouver Washington so he could reinforce his support for U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler at her campaign kickoff event Friday.
Ryan told the crowd of about 300 a story most surely knew: The first time Herrera Beutler was pregnant, she was told her daughter, Abigail, had a medical condition that was likely to prove fatal.
“Well, Abigail was born and she showed she has her mom’s fighting spirit,” Ryan said.
Once the video ended, investment adviser and Clark County philanthropist David Nierenberg told the audience the race for the 3rd Congressional District is about more than Herrera Beutler. It’s also about control of the House and the future of the Republican Party.
“I’m worried about our country, I’m worried about our party,” he said.
The current presidential debate might be attracting viewers, but it’s also been divisive and ugly, he said.
“It’s quite possible whoever is nominated may not bring forward a united party,” he said.
And that could translate into four or eight more years of a Democrat in the White House. Plus, having a large number of Republican senators up for re-election threatens the Republican hold on the upper chamber.
Therefore, “we must keep control of the House,” he said. “That may be where we all look for the protection and salvation over the next several years and Jaime is an important part of that.”
U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., was scheduled to speak, but due to the weather he couldn’t make it. He showed his support for the congresswoman via Skype.
Herrera Beutler told the crowd she would continue to fight the federal government’s overreach.
“The number of taxes you pay from the time you wake up, hit your alarm clock and flip it off and turn on the light, you pay an energy tax,” she said. “And when you flush your toilet you’re paying another tax, and when you go get in your car you drive to work, you’re paying another tax. That reach is so integrated into our lives, and the less of it, the better off we are.”
Herrera Beutler is serving her third term in Congress. She is expecting her second child, a son, with her husband Daniel Beutler. Abigail, now 2, was born three months premature and without kidneys, and survived what is known as Potter’s syndrome. Her survival of the often-fatal syndrome garnered national attention.
Abigail is expected to receive a kidney from her father soon. Herrera Beutler told the crowd Friday that they are in the home stretch of the preparations for her kidney transplant.
Herrera Beutler has drawn two Democratic challengers.
Angela Marx, from Clark County, filed to run against Herrera Beutler to represent the Republican-leaning 3rd Congressional District. And David McDevitt, a Vancouver resident, said he’s running to help bolster the middle class.
Herrera Beutler has $956,830 cash on hand, according to campaign finance reports. Marx has $4,183, and McDevitt has not reported any contributions.
In 2014, Herrera Beutler defeated Democratic challenger Bob Dingethal to win a third term in Congress with 60 percent of the votes.
During redistricting in 2011, the 3rd Congressional District was redrawn to give Republicans relative political security in the district that encompasses Clark County and much of Southwest Washington. In the 2014 primary, Herrera Beutler defeated a challenge from fellow Republican Michael Delavar, who was more closely aligned with the Tea Party.