Thursday, March 30, 2023
March 30, 2023

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Herrera Beutler leads Long in 3rd District race

Long says she isn't ready to concede

By , Columbian staff writer

Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, appears to have prevailed in defending her seat against Democrat Carolyn Long for the second time, though the race could still shift if remaining uncounted ballots diverge from the current trend.

The first round of election results tallied by the Washington Secretary of State Tuesday night show that Herrera Beutler is leading Long in the district with 54.07 percent of the vote to Long’s 45.69 percent. It’s a difference of around 28,000 votes.

In Clark County, the results are friendlier to Long — the Democrat is just barely leading the congresswoman here, with 50.74 percent to Herrera Beutler’s 49.26 percent.

An estimated 80,000 ballots remain to be processed in the state’s 3rd Congressional District. Of those, 70,000 are in Clark County.

In a virtual press conference Tuesday night, Herrera Beutler said she is “floored and thrilled” by the early results.

“I am very humbled to wake up tomorrow and continue to fight for my home region in Congress. It’s hard to put into words how excited I am, and I’m not going to look back,” Herrera Beutler said.

“I was told by naysayers outside of this region, ‘Republicans are all going down, there’s no way they can survive,’ ” Herrera Beutler continued. “This is not a hardcore Republican (or) hardcore Democrat seat. People here are very independent-minded.” 

Should the uncounted votes stick to current trends, Herrera Beutler will return to Washington, D.C., for a sixth term. She said she’s looking forward to continuing the work of representing the district, which encompasses Clark, Lewis, Pacific, Wahkiakum, Cowlitz, Skamania and Klickitat counties, as well as a small sliver of Thurston county.

“In fact, tomorrow I have a call with a bipartisan group of Congress members,” Herrera Beutler said. “Our agenda is to restart our efforts on the coronavirus relief legislation.”

Herrera Beutler said her first priority will be to fast-track COVID-19 relief, including her discharge petition that will try to force a standalone vote on the Paycheck Protection Program.

“I want to tell the folks who supported Carolyn Long: I want to serve you and your family with the same integrity, the same fight, the same compassion and the same drive (as) someone who voted for me,” Herrera Beutler said.

Despite the incumbent’s optimism Tuesday evening, Long indicated in a Facebook Live event that she wasn’t throwing in the towel.

“It’s close, and we’re going to wait until those ballots are counted,” Long said. “I hope we’ll all remember how important it is to respect the results.”

Long thanked her team for their hard work, and touted the election’s historic voter turnout.

“It was a really fun day and we had record turnout here in WA state,” Long said. “It warms my small-D and large-D Democratic heart.”

Should Herrera Beutler ultimately win reelection, she’ll remain the sole congressional Republican in the contiguous United States who represents a district that borders the Pacific Ocean. Herrera Beutler also currently holds the distinction as the only GOP woman of color in either chamber of Congress.

Columbian staff writer