Out of a wide-ranging field of candidates for representative from Washington’s 3rd Congressional District, The Columbian’s Editorial Board recommends incumbent Jaime Herrera Beutler and newcomer Carolyn Long.
As always, this is merely a recommendation; every voter is likely to find a candidate to their liking. But with three Republicans and four Democrats in the field, we believe Herrera Beutler and Long would best represent the district and would provide a competitive exchange of ideas throughout the campaign. The primary is Aug. 7, and the top two vote-getters will advance to the Nov. 6 general election. The editorial board will offer a recommendation for a single candidate once the field is narrowed.
Herrera Beutler, a Republican, is a known quantity. She was elected to Congress in 2010 and has won re-election three times with at least 60 percent of the vote. She supported the Republican tax cut passed last year; has consistently voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act but has supported other health care measures, particularly for children; and has given much attention to issues facing fisheries and forests.
Because Herrera Beutler is familiar to constituents and editorial board members, we opted to interview only her challengers before making a recommendation for the primary. During that interview, we found Long to be the clear standout.
Long, a Democrat, is a political science professor at Washington State University Vancouver. She is a thoughtful candidate who demonstrates in-depth knowledge of the issues and the ability to discuss those issues in an engaging fashion. There is no doubt she agrees with most Democratic policy positions, but there also is reason to believe she has the ability to compromise and devise realistic solutions rather than cling to political dogma.
She is critical of the current Congress and of polarization that has rendered that body ineffective, saying, “Congress is broken” and “democracy is at risk” because of lawmakers’ unwillingness to place constitutional checks on the executive branch.
Long favors stabilizing the Affordable Care Act and working toward health care for all; supports expanded background checks for gun sales and research into gun violence; and promises to defend the social safety net. “Make no mistake, when Republicans passed their $1.5 trillion tax giveaway for the rich, they knew what they wanted to do next: make deep cuts to earned benefits like Social Security and Medicare,” she writes in her campaign materials.
As we mentioned, this race includes something for everybody. On the Democratic side, David McDevitt offers detailed, thoughtful ideas and favors a bistate compact between Washington and Oregon to address transportation issues; Dorothy Gasque is a military veteran who was inspired to run after supporting Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential election and says, “We’ve been killing the consumer class for 40 years”; and Martin Hash bucks some common Democratic policies by supporting a border wall and limited immigration.
Among the Republicans challenging Herrera Beutler, Earl Bowerman is a strong supporter of President Trump who likes the administration’s immigration policies and says, “We’ve gotten away from traditional values”; and Michael Cortney believes that Americans can solve many problems by being more religious but agrees with many Democratic policies.
Together, they represent a diverse group that deserves attention from voters. But The Columbian’s Editorial Board believes Jaime Herrera Beutler and Carolyn Long are clearly the strongest candidates.