State Rep. Jim Moeller announced Wednesday he’s jumping into the race for the 3rd Congressional District with the hopes of unseating U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler.
“My No. 1 goal is the community gets the representation it deserves,” Moeller said. “And unfortunately that’s not happening in Washington, D.C., and I plan on changing that.”
Moeller, a Democrat from Vancouver, previously announced he was giving up his long-held seat in the Statehouse to run for lieutenant governor.
“People are getting shortchanged by the current congresswoman,” Moeller said, saying that’s what inspired him to change his mind and run for Congress.
Moeller, 60, is a chemical dependency counselor with Kaiser Permanente. He’s long been considered one of the more liberal Democrats in the House and has no plans to change his reputation to appeal to some of the more conservative constituents in the 3rd Congressional District.
“I’m going to be the Bernie Sanders of Washington state,” Moeller said.
After the 3rd Congressional District was redrawn in 2011, Republicans have relative political security in the district that encompasses Clark County and rural Southwest Washington. Moeller dismissed the notion that the district leans politically to the right.
“I don’t think the Democrats have been invited to the dance,” he said. “They haven’t been invited to participate by our current representative, and I don’t think the district is as red. … I think I have my work cut out for me, but I think I’m going to win this.”
Moeller hit on a familiar theme used to criticize the incumbent for not holding robust town halls. Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, hosts community coffees rather than traditional town hall meetings.
“I want to represent the entire district. I won’t hand pick who I have in my town halls,” Moeller said.
Herrera Beutler won re-election to her third term campaigning on decreasing Southwest Washington’s unemployment rate and blocking the Affordable Care Act.
“Jaime Herrera Beutler has been getting the best health care in the world via you and I,” Moeller said. “Yet she denies anyone in the 3rd Congressional District from getting it themselves. I find that unacceptable.”
Moeller served eight years on the Vancouver City Council before being elected in 2002 to a 49th Legislative District seat in the House. As speaker pro tempore, Moeller held a powerful position, often presiding over the House.
Herrera Beutler defeated Democrat Denny Heck for the 3rd Congressional District seat in 2010 when she was 31 years old.
Democrat David McDevitt, a Vancouver resident, has also announced he’s running for the seat. His main priority, he’s said is to help bolster the middle class.