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News / Politics / Clark County Politics

Long leads in 3rd Congressional District fundraising

By Calley Hair, Columbian staff writer
Published: October 20, 2019, 6:00am

Democrat Carolyn Long declared she would seek Washington’s 3rd Congressional District seat for the second time on July 8. Since then, she’s out-raised both the Republican incumbent and her fellow Democratic primary challenger.

Long, a Washington State University Vancouver professor, received $597,307 in campaign donations between July 1 and Sept. 30, according to the most recent quarterly reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. Combined with starting cash, Long’s campaign has over $603,000 at its disposal after three months of fundraising.

The 4,800 individual donations came from around 3,200 contributors, and 91 percent of them came from within Washington state — figures that demonstrate the “local, grassroots strength of the campaign,” Long said in a press release.

The same quarterly reports show that five-time incumbent Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler raised $452,425 over the period. Peter Khalil, a Democrat, first-time candidate and professional mediator, trailed distantly, bringing in $13,218.

Though she had a strong showing in her first quarter, Long hasn’t come close to surpassing Herrera Beutler’s total 2020 war chest.

The congresswoman’s receipts for the 2020 election are already up into seven-digit territory. She hasn’t formally announced her campaign, but Herrera Beutler has nonetheless raised $1,117,870 over the course of her current race, and she has nearly $800,000 in on-hand cash. She has said she plans to seek a sixth term.

Despite kicking off his campaign early — he declared his candidacy back in April — Khalil has brought in a total of about $56,000 in campaign donations, less than a tenth of his main primary challenger.

A fourth candidate, Democrat Rudy Atencio, has done little to no traditional campaigning and reported no fundraising to the FEC.

Twelve months and one primary still separate the current landscape and the upcoming general election. But so far, the funding data points to the probability of a formidable rematch between Long and Herrera Beutler.

In 2018, the district saw its closest general election in decades. After winning more than 60 percent of the vote in three consecutive elections, Herrera Beutler ended up with a real challenger in Long, who ended up taking 47.3 percent of ballots to Herrera Beutler’s 52.7 percent.

That race was also the most expensive in the district’s history by a long shot. Together, the candidates raised more than $6.5 million — around $3.8 million for Long, and $2.7 million for Herrera Beutler. Long also outspent Herrera Beutler by around $800,000.

Long still lost, a spokesperson for the congresswoman pointed out to the Longview Daily News earlier this week, a dynamic that could easily play out again.

“We’re not taking anything for granted, but Jaime’s main focus will remain where it’s always been — working hard as this region’s representative and getting results for Southwest Washington,” the spokesperson said.

According to the Cook Partisan Voter Index, voters in the Southwest Washington congressional district preferred Republican candidates by 4 percentage points more than the national average over the last two presidential elections.

More to come

Money raised and spent in the district’s 2020 election will likely surpass last year for a few reasons. For one, both Democrats and Republicans think it might up be up for grabs.

Shortly after the unexpectedly competitive midterm, Washington’s 3rd Congressional District ended up on a list of 33 flippable Republican-held seats targeted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

It was also listed as one of the eight most vulnerable seats by the National Republican Congressional Committee. The representatives on the NRCC’s list are now part of the Patriot Program, which offers extra funding and organizational support to its members.

“The NRCC will be empowering these members to stay on offense and run aggressive, organized campaigns against their Democratic challengers,” New York Rep. John Katko, Patriot Program chairman, said in April.

Additionally, the race has already seen a few high-profile endorsements likely to bring in outside donors.

EMILY’s List, the national organization that pours funding into campaigns for pro-choice women candidates (its acronym stands for “Early Money Is Like Yeast,” as in it raises the dough), endorsed Long a full 14 months before the general election. In the last cycle, Long didn’t snag their endorsement until July, giving her just four months to capitalize on it.

She also received an endorsement from End Citizens United for reviving her pledge to refuse corporate political action committee dollars. Khalil has made a similar promise.

Following his slow fundraising quarter, Khalil told The Columbian his campaign was focusing on “deep canvassing and real connection” over phone calls.

“The model here is AOC vs. Joe Crowley,” Khalil said, referencing progressive Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s 2018 upset victory over an establishment Democratic congressman in New York’s 14th Congressional District.

“These metrics don’t apply in 2019 as a wave of populism is making boots on the ground more important than ads on the airwaves,” Khalil said.

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Columbian staff writer