Another close race brings back memories of 2018, as the incumbent Republican tries to fend off a strong challenge from the Democratic side.
VANCOUVER, Wash. — It’s almost as if the competition never stopped. Democrat Carolyn Long lost to Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beulter in 2018, but by only 5%, the closest anyone’s ever come to beating the incumbent since Herrera Beutler won the seat in 2010.
And now the pair are in the final stretch of a rematch battle for the 3rd Congressional District seat in Washington. It may well be the most intense race in the Pacific Northwest for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives
The district includes all of Clark County on top of a large portion of the state’s southwest corner from the coast to Klickitat County.
Constituents in the district are hearing a lot from the candidates right now, with Herrera Beutler promoting herself as the independent-minded, productive conservative and longtime political science professor; Long as the hard-working, community-connected liberal alternative.
“They’re voting for someone who is going to help them and their families and their businesses and communities first and I’ve been ranked as the No. 1 most effective lawmaker in Washington state out of the House and the Senate, and that’s for my ability to solve problems,” said Herrera Beutler.
“I think I’ve shown I’m someone who is present, accountable and committed to working for the people of southwest Washington… just somebody who’s working hard for everybody’s vote, and I’ve been doing that for three and half years. I think people will see a leader who’s working hard for them rather than corporate special interests,” said Long.
Washington State University Vancouver political science professor Mark Stephan said the times have certainly changed, but the candidates are pretty much who they were in 2018. And the race, again, appears close.
“Recent polls suggest a real tightening in this race,” said Stephan. “I think it’s a tense time right now for everyone, and really the question is how much can the two sides get their own base there and where do those independents break at the last minute.”
Internal polling by the Long campaign and national Democrats have Long just two points behind and within the margin of error for a victory.
“I need everyone to get out and vote. I’ve been teaching my students for years about the importance of civic engagement in democracy. I think it’s the most important election in our lifetime,” said Long.
The incumbent in Congress hopes voters will stick with her.
“I’ve proven I can be effective and if you’re willing, I’d love to go back to Washington D.C. and continue to fight for you,” said Herrera Beutler.
The candidates and voters are nearly to the finish line, and they are seeing the battle play out in ads paid for by a record amount of fundraising: more than $7 million between the two.
National political action committees on both sides are bringing out the ugly side of political campaigning. Ultimately, we will soon know the winner and the direction Southwest Washington will take.