In the race for southwest Wash-ington’s seat in Congress, it’s incumbent Jaime Herrera Beutler versus the other six candidates whose names will appear on the 2018 Primary Election ballots in Klickitat and Skamania counties.
Under Washington’s Primary system, the top two vote-getters in this partisan fight will qualify for the November General Election ballot. The 18-day voting period for the August Primary begins on July 20.
Herrera Beutler is completing her fourth 2-year term as representative of Washing-ton’s 3rd Congressional District. The district comprises all of Klickitat, Skamania, Clark, Cowlitz, Lewis, Wahkiakum and Pacific counties, and the lower bottom of Thurston.
Herrera Beutler, who first ran for Congress in 2010, has won re-election three times by large margins of victory.
The Congresswoman’s opponents this time around include Democrats David McDevitt, who’s making a second try for the position; and first-time Congressional candidates Carolyn Long, Dorothy Gasque, and Martin Hash.
The Republicans running for Herrera Beutler’s seat are Earl Bowerman and Michael Cortney, both first-time candidates for the office they are seeking.
In this final issue before the start of the 18-day Primary Election voting period, we are profiling the incumbent and the challengers who responded to a questionnaire we emailed to each of them earlier this month on Page 6 of this issue.
Jaime Herrera Beutler got elected to Congress in 2010 during a red wave General Election that put Republicans in charge of both chambers of Congress in 2011.
The incumbent, a resident of Battle Ground in Clark County, has not held a public town hall during her current term to engage with voters but she has held telephone town halls in the alternative. She hosted two such call-in events during Congress's spring recess.
In the telephone town hall we listened in to, Herrera Beutler laid out her campaign message in her opening remarks. She touched on the GOP tax cut of 2017, her effort to pass salmon-protection legislation authorizing the use of lethal force to remove predatory sea lions on the lower Columbia River, and her position against Oregon-imposed tolling schemes on interstate highways crossing over the Columbia.
Herrera Beutler has taken issue with politicians and pundits who describe the benefits of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act “crumbs.”
She touts this theme in campaign literature. Her statement in the online Klickitat County Voters Pamphlet echoes her public statements.
“I helped pass legislation into law that will boost the average South-west Washington family of four’s take-home pay by $2,300 this year, and create 20,000 new jobs” in the state of Washington, Herrera Beutler states in the voter's pamphlet.
During a late-March call-in show, she said of the tax cut and jobs legislation that passed with Republican votes only, “There is a number of things that we did aimed at helping the family.”
Other direct personal impacts of the law, she noted, included making certain lower individual tax rates permanent, the doubling of the standard deduction, and the near-doubling of the child tax credit.
Herrera Beutler got her bi-partisan salmon protection and sea lion removal legislation passed by a key House of Representatives committee in May and is waiting for a full House vote.
The legislation enables trained members of tribal communities and government fish managers to remove a limited number of sea lions that pose a threat to the Columbia River’s endangered fish population, according to Herrera Beutler’s campaign website.
“This effort is critical because sea lions are devouring steelhead and salmon; entire runs of these endangered fish are nearing extinction,” the candidate states.
The incumbent also is promoting a measure in the House this term that would repeal a 19th-century prohibition of distilleries on tribal land.
“Repealing this antiquated rule will promote increased economic development throughout the tribal land,” Herrera Beutler notes on her campaign website. “As a result of this piece of legislation, more jobs will be created for tribal members and for non-tribal members from Thurston, Lewis, and Grays Harbor counties.”
Herrera Beutler is running for a fifth term to continue her focus on economic recovery and jobs; protecting seniors and the Medicare and Social Security trust funds they depend on and fighting against government waste.
Prior to running for Congress, Herrera Beutler served two terms in the Washington State House of Representatives, and before that as a senior legislative aide in the U.S. of Representatives.
According to Federal Elections Commission data, Herrera Beutler had $1,002,522 cash on hand as of June 30.
Her campaign had taken in $1,459,545 and spent $804,286 during the same reporting period.
David McDevitt has become a familiar name and face in Klickitat County over the last six years. As a third-time candidate for Congress, McDevitt has either held of attended 18 town halls/campaign events in White Salmon and Goldendale since 2017. He has hosted nine town halls in the county this election cycle.
According to his voter's pamphlet statement, McDevitt has hosted more than 80 town halls, or community chats, around the 3rd District to engage voters and listen to their concerns and suggestions.
He held is 74th community chat on July 5 in White Salmon.
His campaign motto is Putting People First, with an emphasis on local decision-making to find solutions made in and for Southwest Washington communities.
“More than ever, we need a maverick with visionary leadership skills in fixing issues in our district,” McDevitt says in his online statement, “so our federal government helps only when needed.”
McDevitt is second in fundraising with total receipts of $729,577. That includes a $700,000 personal loan. As of June 30, his campaign had $681,143 in cash on hand.
McDevitt is accepting only individual donations; corporate PACs need not apply.
Carolyn Long, a political science professor at WSU Vancouver since 1995, has been making the rounds in Klickitat County since late last fall.
She held town halls on Dec. 16 in Lyle, Feb. 24 in White Salmon, and April 27 in Goldendale. Long also attended a forum on June 2 hosted by Klickitat Democrats. Moreover, she attended Goldendale Community Days and the White Salmon Spring Festival and walked in both parades.
District-wide, Long has hosted more than 25 town halls in front of more than 2,000 people since she kicked off her campaign.
“Southwest Washington deserves a representative who is present, accountable, and committed to working for you,” Long says in her online campaign statement. “It’s clear we need better leaders in DC who represent you, not party leadership or special interests.”
Long’s campaign also has established a permanent Action Committee in Klickitat County as an official arm of the campaign.
The campaign has been conducting canvassing operations in both of the county’s major population centers. Long supporters canvas-sed White Salmon on July 12 and plan to canvass Goldendale on July 19, the day before the 18-day voting period begins.
“With the district being so large, we do our best to spend as much time in each county as possible,” a Long campaign aide said.
Long has raised $599,251 (with a $5,500 loan by the candidate) and spent $287,684 as of the June 30 reporting coverage period. Her cash on hand stood at $311,568.
Long is not accepting donations from corporate PACs.
Dorothy Gasque, a resident of Hazel Dell in Clark County, has an intriguing personal story: a veteran of the second Iraq War and a graduate of Portland State University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Mathematics, with a focus on game theory.
Gasque served eight years in the U.S. Army and attained the rank of Sergeant. She deployed to Iraq in 2005 with an otherwise all-male combat unit and served with distinction.
After an honorable discharge, Gasque settled down in Clark County and got involved in community activism, with a focus on veterans and non-profit organizations.
In the spring of 2015, Gasque joined in the effort to build the progressive movement in Clark County. In 2016, Gasque became a lead organizer in southwest Washington for the Bernie Sanders for president campaign.
Gasque is employed as assistant director of the non-profit Concern-ed Humans Against Poverty and calls herself “a champion for those that have been marginalized” on her campaign website.
“In Congress, I will fight for anti-corruption legislation, ethics reform, infrastructure, education, small business, living wage jobs, clean energy, Medicare for all, seniors, veterans, and for our children to know peace.”
As of June 30, Gasque had reported total receipts of $53,704, expenditures of $37,521 and cash on hand of $23,530.