Although each will try to portray the other as an extremist, congressional candidates Carolyn Long and Jaime Herrera Beutler are relatively moderate representatives of their parties. Each is capable of being an effective voice for Washington’s 3rd Congressional District, and each has demonstrated a strong understanding of the issues that impact our region.
The Columbian Editorial Board recommends a vote for Democratic challenger Carolyn Long against Herrera Beutler, the Republican incumbent. As always, this is merely a recommendation; The Columbian trusts that voters will study the candidates and the issues before casting an informed ballot.
Our recommendation hinges on Long’s demonstrated ability to meet with and listen to constituents throughout the district; her understanding of economic policy; and her understanding of Congress’ role in holding the executive branch accountable.
Long, a political science professor who lost to Herrera Beutler by 5 percentage points two years ago, built her 2018 campaign on a series of town hall meetings. That strategy has been hampered this year by social distancing, but it reflects her willingness to engage with constituents ranging from Goldendale to Long Beach. Herrera Beutler has not held an in-person town hall since early 2017, opting instead to answer selected questions on conference calls.
Long also demonstrates a strong understanding of economics. During a joint interview with the editorial board, Herrera Beutler defended the tax cuts and spending increases she supported in 2018, inaccurately claiming that the federal deficit was decreasing before the pandemic scuttled the economy. Long said: “We were told two years ago that the Republicans’ tax plan was going to pay for itself. We learned that within a year, a trillion dollars was added to the federal debt. That’s money that my daughter is going to pay for.”
Herrera Beutler also lauds President Trump’s economic policies and tariffs. Those policies devastated American farming prior to the pandemic, with taxpayers shelling out $28 billion in aid to farmers over two years.
Meanwhile, Herrera Beutler revealed to the editorial board that she plans to vote for Trump in his bid for reelection. In 2016, she declined to support Trump and says she voted for then-Rep. Paul Ryan as a write-in candidate. Last year, she voted against the House of Representatives’ impeachment of the president, at one point calling the proceedings a “farce.”
Regarding checks and balances, Long said, “Congress needs to reassert itself.”
Herrera Beutler has some strong selling points to warrant a sixth term in Washington, D.C. Those include a genuine ability to work in a bipartisan fashion and to focus on the needs of Southwest Washington. She has been active in trying to reduce sea lion predation on salmon in the Columbia River and in developing measures to reduce maternal mortality. Her work often focuses on health care issues, but we disagree with her frequent votes to overturn the Affordable Care Act without offering a viable alternative. For her part, Long supports strengthening the Affordable Care Act but does not support Medicare-for-all.
It is impossible to paint a complete picture of either candidate’s positions in a single editorial, and we recommend that voters do their homework rather than believe what they see in TV ads. Video of The Columbian’s interview is available online, and both candidates have agreed to debate on Oct. 9.
But in our opinion, Carolyn Long is the superior choice to represent Washington’s 3rd Congressional District.