The two candidates running for Congress in Southwest Washington will face off in their first debate at 2 p.m. Friday.
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, the five-term Republican incumbent from Battle Ground, and Vancouver’s Democratic challenger, Carolyn Long, will field questions from the community in a virtual debate hosted by the Clark, Cowlitz and Klickitat-Skamania county branches of the League of Women Voters.
The event is also co-hosted by four regional newspapers: The Columbian, The Daily News of Longview, the Skamania County Pioneer and the Goldendale Sentinel.
Veteran KXL-FM radio journalist Steve Leader will moderate. Four panelists — one from each of the participating newspapers — will ask the candidates questions.
The League of Women Voters solicited questions from the community using The Columbian’s online Clark Asks tool, and a team of representatives from the League screened the questions to ensure fairness.
In lieu of opening statements, Herrera Beutler and Long have been informed of the first question ahead of the debate. The rest of the questions have not been released to the candidates.
The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization. In a media release, the League announced that its goals for the debate are to generate meaningful discourse on the economy, health care, education, the environment, the budget and the future of Washington’s 3rd Congressional District.
“This effort is all about our mission to empower voters through education,” Clark County League Co-Presidents Nancy Halvorson and Jane Johnson said in a media release announcing the debates last month.
Nov. 3 will mark the second time that Herrera Beutler and Long compete for the district’s support in a general election. However, Friday’s formal debate will be their first — in 2018, the League canceled a scheduled debate between the candidates after Herrera Beutler declined their invitation through a press statement.
The debate will last for one hour. It will be broadcast live on Clark/Vancouver Television and available later for streaming at CVTV.org.