Two candidates who will likely face off in the general election for Washington’s 3rd Congressional District in November raised nearly identical sums in the fourth quarter of 2019.
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, reported to the Federal Election Commission on Friday that she’d raised $460,738 in the three months ending Dec. 31. The campaign for Carolyn Long, a Washington State University Vancouver professor, announced that the Democrat had raised $466,345 in the last three months of 2019.
The latest figures bring the war chest for Herrera Beutler — a five-term incumbent, seeking a sixth term — to $1.48 million. Long has raised $1.07 million since July.
In a media release, Long said that she was honored by the “groundswell of support,” citing the 5,000 individual donors who had donated to her campaign. She repeated her pledge to refuse funds from corporate political action committees.
“More than 5,000 people have stood up and invested in bringing effective representation back to Southwest Washington,” Long said in the press release. “I learned the meaning of hard work from my family in our small produce stand on the side of the highway, and it’s something I have taken with me every single day on the campaign trail.”
Parker Truax, Herrera Beutler’s campaign manager, said the congresswoman planned to rely on her track record to attract support in 2020.
“It appears both candidates will have plenty of money to run their campaigns, but Jaime’s continuing to build on her record of getting results that helped make her the most effective legislator out of Washington’s 12 federal lawmakers,” Truax said.
“People continue to re-elect her because they can point to the laws she’s passed to improve health services for mothers and babies, protect Columbia River salmon, provide veterans with housing, give parents more tools to pay for child care, and crack down on scam robocalls — and Jaime won’t change this approach.”
Fundraising figures for Democrat Peter Khalil, an Ivy League-educated mediator in Vancouver who’s running to the left of Long on several key issues, were not posted to the FEC’s website before this story’s deadline. Neither Khalil nor his campaign manager, Nicolette Horaites, responded to The Columbian’s request to see the document Friday.
A fourth candidate, Democrat Rudy Atencio of White Salmon, said he hasn’t raised enough money to meet the FEC’s reporting threshold.
Setting the stage
The fourth quarter fundraising figures show Long remains matched to the incumbent, but cooling slightly after her campaign’s honeymoon period.
After she announced her candidacy the morning of July 8, the Democrat had raked in $100,000 by lunch. By October, she’d raised just over $600,000, outstripping the incumbent by $150,000 and trouncing her main primary challenger, Khalil, who had raised $13,218.
Long’s announcement of a second campaign — hinted at it in public forums for months ahead of time — had been hotly anticipated by Democrats in Southwest Washington.
Long gave Herrera Beutler the closest race of the congresswoman’s career in 2018, taking 47.3 percent of the vote to Herrera Beutler’s 52.7 percent, and outpolling her in Clark County. In the previous three elections, Herrera Beutler had won at least 60 percent of the votes.
The $6.5 million 2018 race was also the most expensive in the district’s history, with Herrera Beutler raising $2.7 million and Long raising $3.8 million.
That’s a record the candidates are on track to break, should Long advance to the general election.
Washington’s 3rd Congressional District has been spotlighted as vulnerable by political organizations on both sides of the aisle. It’s on the National Republican Congressional Committee’s list of the eight most vulnerable seats in 2020, as well as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s 33 most flippable districts.
Publicly identifying Herrera Beutler’s seat as vulnerable acts as a beacon for top donors. According to the FEC filing, the congresswoman’s top donors are Take Back the House 2020, a conservative joint fundraising committee ($122,850); Winred, a GOP online fundraising platform ($62,338) and Problem Solvers Patriots, a joint fundraising committee supporting House GOP incumbents ($54,684).