On Monday Carolyn Long threw her hat in the race to represent Washington's 3rd Congressional District, which covers the southwest corner of the state. The Democratic diplomat (as the Stranger dubbed her in 2018) hoped incumbent Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler would be carried out to sea in the Blue Wave, but that didn't happen. Herrera Beutler beat Long by over 5 points to secure a fifth term.
Though she came up short last cycle, Long hopes to build on the momentum she created as a sleeper candidate in the midterms and finally flip the 3rd.
Long kicked off her campaign Monday afternoon in Lewis County, where she saw her biggest losses in the last race. Over the phone Long said 65 people showed up. "Given Lewis County, it was a good reception," Long added.
She then continued on to the Longview Women's Club, where she said she was greeted by over 100 people, both old supporters and new people curious about the race. She ended the day in front of a 400-person crowd in Clark County, the only county Long won in 2018.
Long hadn't anticipated such a large crowd on the Monday night after the 4th of July and said she was "excited" to see such a large turnout.
By the end of the evening, Long said the campaign raised over $150,000, which she considered a testimony to the strength of the last campaign carrying over to this one.
Herrera Beutler's continued "lack of presence" in the district and her failure to contribute to any major piece of legislation over the last ten years inspired Long to run again, and she's more or less running on the same platform. She wants to lower the high cost of health care by shoring up the Affordable Care Act and then pursuing a public option. She also wants to lower the cost of prescription medication by letting Medicare negotiate drug prices while "holding Big Pharma to account" by looking for price-gouging.
Flipping the 3rd CD will be difficult. The district was redrawn to ensure Republican rule, which is why Trump took it by over seven points in 2016. Despite Long's bipartisan appeal, in 2018 Herrera Beutler maintained support in rural areas, winning Lewis County by 10,000 votes. The National Republican Congressional Committee isn't looking the other way, either. They've identified Herrera Beutler as a vulnerable member, putting her on their Patriot Program, which means she'll "benefit from fundraising and organizational assistance."
If she makes it through the primary, Long will have help from her party, too. Unlike in the midterms, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee included WA03 in their "Red to Blue" battle plan early this year, which will give the Democratic candidate in the 3rd a financial boost. Another Democratic candidate in the race, mediator Peter Khalil, jumped in last April.
He toes the same centrist Democratic line Long toes and lacks Long's level of support in the district. In an email Khalil said he was "running an insurgent campaign" and that he's "for Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, and the Anti-Corruption act."
Long plans to work to pick up more votes in Clark County and also to win back the rural parts of the district. "We really need to continue our efforts to win over voters in Lewis and Cowlitz," she said. "We didn't see the closing of the gap in Lewis that we saw in other counties. We're going to make sure we're present, committed, and accountable to working with them."
In 2018 Long held nearly 50 town halls during the course of her campaign in order to reach as many people as she could. This time she wants to do more door-to-door work. "We're going to continue to do town halls, but a lot of it will be going into the community and meeting with voters, some old fashioned retail politics," she said.
Though many of the incumbents will likely draw long-shot challengers, the race for Washington's 3rd is the only one that looks vaguely competitive this year.
The NRCC put Rep. Kim Schrier on their target list, but it'll be hard for them to knock out an incumbent, especially with Trump-rage fueling so many blue votes in the 8th. So far, Republican and former Seattle Police Department officer Keith Swank has filed to run in this district. In 2011, SPD suspended Swank for 10 days for failing to de-escalate a situation wherein "a gang detective threatened to beat the 'Mexican piss' out of a prone Latino man." So there ya go.
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers beat Lisa Brown by nearly 10 points in the 5th CD. Given that Brown was probably the Dem's best bet out east, such a big loss will probably scare off serious challengers. The only person currently filed to run on the Democratic side is Christopher Armi, a first-time candidate and stand-up comedian who runs a pot podcast. A spokesperson from the state party says they haven't heard one way or another if Brown, like Long, is staging a comeback.