Third District Race: Herrera Beutler wins sixth term

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U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler has defeated challenger Carolyn Long for the second time with a greater margin of victory than she had in the first showdown between the two in 2018.

By Friday afternoon Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, was up with roughly 56.3 percent of the vote districtwide, with Long trailing at about 43.5 percent.

Herrera Beutler was able to get a majority in all constituent counties, though at the initial count released shortly after the 8 p.m. deadline Nov. 3 Long had a slight majority in Clark County, the most populous county in the Third Congressional District. The lead flipped the following day with Clark voting more toward Herrera Beutler — Long managed to carry the county with 51.1 percent of the vote in 2018. Ultimately Herrera Beutler won re-election two years ago with about 52.7 percent of the vote, a slimmer margin than she won this year.

During a remote media availability following the first results which showed she had a lead, Herrera Beutler said she was humbled to have the support of voters for a sixth term. She noted that she was immediately continuing with Congressional work following Election Day, saying she had a meeting with members of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus to get more relief legislation for the COVID-19 pandemic moving.

“I think from day one my priority has been solving problems for folks here, and I’m not going to let up,” Herrera Beutler remarked. 

Herrera Beutler said campaigning during the pandemic was the biggest challenge for the 2020 bid. She recounted how at the start of the year she was planning the usual, in-person types of campaign events that would ultimately be prohibited by orders against gatherings and business operations designed to prevent COVID-19’s spread.

“Everything was atypical,” Herrera said. Her focus remained on Congressional work in order to bring support to the district during the Spring, she said, going by a belief that “if you do your job (in Congress) well, the election will take care of itself.”

To Long’s supporters, Herrera Beutler pointed to her work as a member of the House minority in getting bills with bipartisan support passed as indicative of how she wants to continue representing the district.

“I want to serve you and your family with the same integrity, the same bite, the same compassion and the same drive … than I would do for someone who voted for me,” Herrera Beutler said. “I’m a Republican, but I’ve never approached this job with an ideological axe to grind.”

Long did not concede until the next day, after Clark County’s shift toward Herrera Beutler and the incumbent’s widening lead. In a statement announcing her concession she said she was “ so incredibly proud of the strength of this grassroots campaign,” thanking her supporters. 

“From reaching out to friends, family, and neighbors all across Southwest Washington to speak about the campaign, to asking me questions and letting me know about the issues that are on your mind, to chipping in with a few bucks here and there—you were there for me and I deeply appreciate it.

Long took pride in running a campaign “based on facts, policy, and the truth,” she said in the stated. She reiterated her campaign tenet of not taking any money from corporate political action committees.

“At the end of each day, I reminded myself that how one runs a campaign is a reflection of who they are as a person,” Long said.

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