Election 2019

Fundraising for the 2020 election of Washington’s Third Congressional District has gotten into gear with hundreds of thousands going into the coffers of the race’s top-two financially-backed candidates.

The Oct. 15 deadline for filing quarterly campaign finances with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) saw close to $602,000 raised by Carolyn Long, a Democrat who last year came closer than any challenger to incumbent Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, since her initial 2010 election. Herrera Beutler’s total for the quarter, which ran from July 1 to Sept. 30, totalled more than $454,000.

Herrera Beutler still leads in total campaign contributions for the 2020 election with more than $1.1 million raised this year, according to FEC data. Long’s election total is about $603,000 with the past quarter’s fundraising marking almost all of those funds following a total from April through June of less than $2,000. Herrera Beutler had close to $376,000 in that same period.

A news release from Long’s campaign stated the latest quarter’s contributions came from more than 3,200 individual contributors, with 90.7 percent of contributions from individuals coming from within Washington state and close to 88 percent of those being “low-dollar” donors.

The Long campaign’s release said those percentages highlighted “the local, grassroots strength of the campaign,” adding that Long didn’t take “a dime of Corporate PAC money.” Long stated the contributions left her humbled by the support she has seen in the Third Congressional District.

Long’s release took the opportunity to stump on the candidate’s policy points such as “affordable and accessible health care, lowered costs of prescription drugs and important investments in our infrastructure including bringing high-speed internet to every corner” of the district.

“The incredible early success in local grassroots fundraising proves that people are excited and energized for Carolyn Long and is building on last cycle’s strongest performance by a Democrat in the last 10 years,” Carolyn Long Campaign Manager Abby Olmstead stated in the release.

In a response to the latest financial reports, Herrera Beutler noted that in the 2018 election, which she won with about 52.7 percent of the vote, Long had outspent the incumbent — according to FEC data Long spent more than $3.8 million compared to Herrera Beutler’s more than $3 million.

“I’m confident we’ll have all the resources we need to reach voters next year,” Herrera Beutler wrote in a statement. “In 2018, I was able to weather being heavily outspent by my opponent and her special interest allies and earn re-election because I never take my focus off of serving Southwest Washington residents.“

Though she noted fundraising was an important part of the campaign, she said successes as a Congressional Representative were a greater push for victory on Election Day, naming laws involving sea lion control, access to health services, tax cuts and veteran home ownership as examples.

Angeline Riesterer, spokesperson for Herrera Beutler, provided campaign statistics which showed more than 3,100 individual contributors in the past quarter, with 83.2 percent of individuals who donated being in Washington State and 92.8 percent in the “low-dollar” category. She refuted that Political Action Committee money was an issue for the campaign, likening it to a “purity” test that was off-base for the race.

“Jaime makes her decisions in Congress based on what’s best for Battle Ground and the rest of Southwest Washington — period,” Riesterer wrote.

Though Herrera Beutler and Long are the clear front-runners in terms of financial contributions, Peter Khalil, a fellow Vancouver Democrat whose political ideologies generally fall more in line with the progressive movement, also continues to fundraise, though last quarter proved to have fewer collected than the one prior. According to FEC data Khalil raised more than $13,000 from July through September, below the close to $43,000 he got from April through June.

A fourth candidate, White Salmon Democrat Rudy Atencio, did not have any fundraising reported through the election cycle, according to the FEC.

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