Although five people appear on the ballot, there are two clear choices in the primary election for U.S. representative from Washington’s 3rd Congressional District. The Columbian’s Editorial Board recommends Jaime Herrera Beutler and Carolyn Long for the position.
As always, this is merely a recommendation designed to foster discussion. The Columbian trusts that voters will study the issues and candidates before casting an informed ballot.
Primary ballots are scheduled to be mailed on Friday and must be returned by Aug. 4. They may be dropped off at a secure ballot box or dropped in the mail; no postage is necessary.
This editorial marks the board’s first recommendation for the primary, which will include contests for all state executive positions — governor, attorney general, etc. — several legislative positions, two Clark County Council spots and a variety of other offices.
The top two vote-getters in the primary will advance to the Nov. 3 general election. Because of that, the editorial board will provide recommendations for two candidates in each race that has more than two. Following the primary, we then will provide one recommendation for each contest.
In the race for Congress, Herrera Beutler and Long seem poised for a rematch of the 2018 election. Herrera Beutler, a Republican, is completing her fifth term in Congress; Long advanced to the general election two years ago before losing, 53 percent to 47 percent. In the process, she developed name recognition that makes her a formidable challenger.
But name recognition is not the only reason either candidate warrants support. Both have qualities necessary in a strong representative.
Herrera Beutler has served the region well, demonstrating a sharp understanding of local issues and advocating for the interests of constituents. Last month, she was one of 20 representatives chosen for the Jefferson-Hamilton Award for Bipartisanship by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Herrera Beutler has received praise from pro-business groups such as the Chamber of Commerce and Americans for Prosperity, while receiving low marks from the Human Rights Campaign and League of Conservation Voters.
Long, a political science professor at Washington State University Vancouver, is a Democrat who has effectively connected with voters. She built her 2018 campaign through a string of town-hall meetings and this year — because of COVID-19 restrictions — is holding virtual town halls.
Long has made health care a centerpiece of her campaign, writing that her top priority is to, “Pass low-deductible public option health care that protects coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.”
Three other candidates also are on the ballot: Martin Hash, who lists no party preference, and Democrats Devin Gray and Davy Ray. Hash ran for the same office in 2018, receiving less than 1 percent of the vote in a seven-person primary, and Gray is running a stealth campaign, with no information provided for the voters’ pamphlet and no campaign website. Ray provides some thoughtful positions on his website and writes in the voters’ pamphlet that his priorities include, “(to) make affordable health care a right, bring infrastructure projects to the area, work to protect our environmental resources, give our kids fair and affordable educational opportunities …”
Herrera Beutler and Long, however, are the strongest candidates in this race and have earned The Columbian’s recommendation.