When Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, said she wouldn’t vote for President Donald Trump in 2016, Earl Bowerman was unsettled.
“When she said that, that gives a leg up for Hillary Clinton. If more Republicans across the country had taken the congresswoman’s lead, Hillary Clinton would have been president today,” Bowerman, 76, said. “And for me, that’s enough for me to get off the couch.”
Bowerman, of Camas, has filed to run as a Republican against Herrera Beutler for the 3rd Congressional District seat.
He said Herrera Beutler’s action was crossing a line and means the representative can’t be effective on issues that matter to Southwest Washington, such as tolling.
“Let’s imagine Jaime goes into the White House to see the president and the president receives her and she starts talking about the tolls and he says, ‘Let’s see now, Jaime, you said you would not publicly support my candidacy and you want me to do what?'” Bowerman said. “So I question the influence she has here in Washington.”
Herrera Beutler said she’s proud to run on her record and works with everyone “in good faith to find common ground and solve problems for Southwest Washington.”
Bowerman hasn’t held public office before, but said he ran for a water and soil committee board seat in California years ago before he moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2009. He moved to Camas three years ago.
Bowerman, who has a background in plant science, said he was inspired initially to “give back” via politics when he and his wife Karen Dill met former President Ronald Reagan. Top issues for Bowerman include reducing government spending and taxes, term limits and border control.
The omnibus budget, for example, would have gone without a passing vote from Bowerman, he said.
“That included funding for things like Planned Parenthood,” he said. “I would not have voted for that.”
He also thinks members of the U.S. House and Senate should be limited to three terms.
“I think that after a congressman serves three terms or more that they cease being a citizen representative and they start being a special interest representative,” he said.
In terms of a strong border, Bowerman said he’s pleased the president is ordering the National Guard to protect the Mexico-U.S. line.
“I think he has to,” Bowerman added.
Additional military presence at the border goes hand-in-hand with his take on immigration.
“I believe that whenever a question comes up we should follow the law,” he said. “It’s not whether we like what’s going on or we dislike what’s going on — we follow the law. I feel our congresswoman is probably a little bit sympathetic, and I am too, but what trumps everything is the law. That’s one of the things I support about the president.”
To kick off his campaign, Bowerman is hosting a town hall from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. April 24 at the Clark College Columbia Tech Center.