Both sides are already firing a few early verbal shots in what could be a hotly contested race with national implications
CLARK COUNTY — If Jaime Herrera Beutler is feeling nervous at all about facing off against college educator Carolyn Long this November, the Congresswoman who is seeking a fifth term isn’t letting it show.
“Over the next few months, voters will be presented with a clear contrast between a proud Southwest Washington (sic) who has worked hard and reached across the aisle to get results for this community, and an Oregonian who will vote to raise taxes and kill economic growth,” Herrera Beutler said in an e-mailed statement to ClarkCountyToday.com.
While Long has been a professor for WSU Vancouver’s School of Politics, Philosophy and Public Affairs for 23 years, she had been commuting from Salem until shortly before registering to run for the 3rd Congressional District seat. She was asked on election night if she felt the residency issue would hurt her when it came to the general election.
“I don’t think so,” Long said. “You know I’ve lived here for 16 months now, and I’ve taught in the community for 23 years. One of the things that’s so rewarding when I go out into the district is I’ll meet former students — I’ve taught thousands of students — and every part of the district where I’ve gone I’ve seen someone who I either taught, or someone I’ve worked with in the community. I think people just have to look at my record and what I’ve done in this community for 23 years.”
In December of last year, Clark County Republican Party Chair David Gellatly alleged in a (now apparently deleted) blog post that Long was a plant from Oregon, meant to lower resistance in Southwest Washington to plans for tolling in Portland, and mass transit across an eventual I-5 bridge replacement. Long has laughed that accusation off.
Long says she has pledged to run a clean and civil campaign, but that doesn’t mean she won’t be bringing up the incumbent’s record, or her lack of in-person town hall meetings. Long is fond of mentioning that she has held around 30 town hall meetings in person throughout the 3rd Congressional District since filing to run.
A release from Long’s campaign following the primary victory also shows several other key areas they plan to attack the incumbent:
“Herrera Beutler’s campaign has received more than $300,000 in donations from corporate interests, including Big Pharma, insurance companies and Wall Street,” the statement reads. “Her campaign is also heavily supported by special interest PACs like the gun lobby and anti-choice groups.”
Long says she would welcome a face-to-face debate with Herrera Beutler before the election in November.
“I’d be happy to debate in any part of the district with Herrera Beutler,” says Long. “I think it’s a good way for the voters to contrast between us, and if she doesn’t want to debate I’ll just hold more town halls.”
For her part, Herrera Beutler says she’s excited to be through the primary process and on to the general election again. “I’m honored to have successfully advanced through the primary on to the general election,” her statement read, “and I’m so incredibly grateful to Southwest Washington voters for continuing to trust me to fight on their behalf.”
A spokesperson for Herrera Beutler’s campaign also pointed out that Long had to spend a lot of the money she raised just to get through the primary, while the incumbent was able to focus on the general election.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Long held a 1,590-vote lead over Herrera Beutler in Clark County, but trailed by almost 7,500 votes throughout the district. Clark County was the only county in the 3rd Congressional District in which Long had a lead, with around 17,000 votes left there to be counted.