Congressional Candidate Carolyn Long, D-Vancouver, announces her run for Washington Third District at the Centralia Timberland Library July 8.

It’s official — WSU Vancouver professor Carolyn Long is back in the race for Washington’s 3rd Congressional District, making a slew of appearances across the district on Monday.

Long announced her campaign in Centralia, Longview and Vancouver July 8, beginning a second stab at wrestling the seat currently held by Jaime Herrera Beutler from the Battle Ground Republican’s control.

Long first went up against Herrera Beutler in 2018, losing to the incumbent who gained about 52.7% of the district-wide vote. Long did manage to get most of Clark County’s vote, however, getting about 51.1%.

Long said coming so close in 2018 led her to consider another run, commenting she felt her message focused on healthcare, infrastructure and investment into education resonated with voters.

“I think I can best represent the district in the other Washington,” she told The Reflector. 

Long said this cycle’s campaign will have similar policy points, mentioning specifically the need to cut the cost of prescription drugs, as well as access to rural broadband, something she saw come up often as she crisscrossed the district in 2018.

Long said the main thing her campaign was doing differently was starting earlier, about five months before when she announced her running last cycle. Even with the head start, like last year, Long isn’t the first Democrat to announce their hopes of dethroning Herrera Beutler. Peter Khalil, a professional mediator from Vancouver, announced his own candidacy in April.

Long said her background would be an asset as she connects with voters across the district, noting she grew up in a rural community. She said she wasn’t too focused on whatever Democratic competition comes up.

“I’m really running against Jaime Herrera Beutler, I’m not trying to run against anybody else,” she remarked.

Long said part of her campaign is to be “very present” in the district with a focus on town halls, something the incumbent had not done in-person since 2017, instead using a phone-in format to talk with constituents.

Long said her invitation to Herrera Beutler for a debate last year still stands (the two only went head-to-head in a few forum-style events).

“What we said last time I’ll say this time, which is that I would debate her anywhere,” Long remarked. “It’s a real shame when an incumbent member of Congress refuses to debate a challenger so that the voters can see a contrast between two candidates.”

“I think the voters should demand that,” Long continued. “We certainly will be demanding it.”

Despite the Democrats lining up to challenge her, and the tough campaign last cycle, Herrera Beutler is confident in her chances.

“Jaime will run on her track record of solving problems, from job creation to affordable health care to salmon recovery,” said campaign spokeswoman Angeline Riesterer. “We’re confident that Southwest Washington voters will look at Jaime’s long list of positive accomplishments and see fit to return her to office.”

The Chronicle reporter Alex Brown contributed to this report.

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