Lesser-known Democrat Davy Ray of Stevenson listened to his heart — not his colleagues — when he filed to represent Southwest Washington in the U.S. Congress.
Ray, who ran for the same position in 2020, said fellow Democrats invested in the race urged him to withdraw as the deadline to revoke his submission crept closer. Some suggested that he should run for local office, but Ray wanted to go big and knock incumbent Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler from her position.
“I talked to my family, and they said, ‘Well, you got to do what your heart tells you to do,’” he said. “And so here I am.”
The candidate said he plans to build off the momentum from his previous attempt to run for the position. During the 2020 primary election, Ray received 3,522 votes — much to his surprise.
“I jumped in literally 10 minutes before the deadline, and I had no experience about it,” he said. “(I) just wanted to get my name out there and say, ‘Look, here are the things I’m concerned about.’”
This time, however, Ray has invested more energy in his campaign. He anticipates scheduling radio interviews, boosting his advertising and hosting town halls in the two months before the primary election in August.
Ray believes his chances of replacing the incumbent are slim, yet he hopes his intentions are clear to constituents and can shift the conversation surrounding politics.
“I’ve been battling against people who have seven figures in their war chest. … I hope the people see stuff like this and think, ‘Well, maybe he’s not such a bad guy after all,’” he said.
Many issues in Southwest Washington are rooted in infrastructure, whether it’s concerning the Interstate 5 Bridge, affordable housing or the lack of interregional electric bus transit systems, Ray said. By addressing these elements and investing in improving them, there would be a positive domino effect in overall livability, he added.
As climate patterns begin to become more extreme, there will be influxes of climate refugees moving to Southwest Washington, Ray said. A sufficient response requires enough preparation, he said, as a lack of resources and supportive policies may lead to “tent cities” spreading through the region.
Ray is also a proponent of universal health care.