More than a month after a seven-way primary in the 3rd Congressional District, Democrat Carolyn Long has finally picked up an endorsement from one of the vanquished challengers — a Republican.
Long earned the endorsement of Republican rival Michael Cortney in the November general election, where she faces incumbent Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground.
At this point, no other of the eliminated candidates — Republican Earl Bowerman and Democrats Dorothy Gasque, David McDevitt and Martin Hash — have endorsed Herrera Beutler or Long.
Before the primary, the Democratic candidates were asked if they would back whomever emerged as victor. McDevitt said he would, but Gasque never responded to the inquiry, which was posted in a local Facebook group.
Neither McDevitt nor Gasque responded to The Columbian’s inquiry asking if they would be issuing an endorsement in the race. After the Aug. 8 primary Gasque said, “It is up to the candidate to earn their support.” Peter Harrison, who dropped out of the race in March, has endorsed Long.
Gasque and McDevitt have made at least one endorsement in the November election — they both support Kathy Gillespie in her bid for Washington’s 18th District House seat against Republican Larry Hoff.
Although Cortney ran as a Republican, on the campaign trail many people, including Long, joked about his support of Democratic positions. Gasque even said in a hypothetical situation where she couldn’t vote for herself, she would vote for Cortney.
Cortney said he is supporting Long because he believes she could garner bipartisan support.
“Jaime Herrera Beutler may portray herself as a moderate, but on the issues that matter most to the future of our district she aligns herself with extremist Republican leaders like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell,” Cortney said in a press release. “As a moderate Republican, I’m supporting Carolyn Long for Congress in Washington’s 3rd District because she has demonstrated to me that she understands the threat that climate change poses to our communities and will work across the aisle to create a brighter future for our children.”
Both were campaign issues for Cortney.
“I had the pleasure of getting to know Michael over the past nine months on the campaign trail and I’m deeply grateful to have the support of someone so genuinely concerned about the well-being of our community,” Long said in a press release. “I look forward to having Michael as an ally in our work to restore civil debate and mutual respect to our political discourse.”
Herrera Beutler’s spokeswoman, Angeline Riesterer, said Cortney’s decision to endorse a Democrat isn’t a surprise.
“We’d never heard of him until he appeared on the ballot,” Riesterer wrote in an email. “Since he advocates for a host of liberal positions and a 90 percent income tax rate, this isn’t a shock.”
Cortney has said taxing the wealthiest citizens at 90 percent, as was done during Dwight D. Eisenhower’s presidency, is the reason the United States was able to build infrastructure and better support industries and higher education.
Long also announced endorsements from End Citizens United and the Sierra Club this week, the latest in a continuous stream of national endorsements including the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.
In the August primary, Republican candidates on the 3rd Congressional ticket held a two-point lead — 51 to 49 percent — over the Democrats. Herrera Beutler was the top vote-getter districtwide, but Long won the most votes in Clark County, with 39.53 percent. Democrats also led Clark County with nearly 54 percent of the vote.
Cortney received about 3 percent of the vote districtwide, theoretically enough to make a difference in a tight race.