VANCOUVER — In the lead-up to 2020’s primary election, citizens of Washington’s Third Congressional District have another interesting race on their hands — Carolyn Long is back in the game.
Long made her announcement to run against five-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler on July 8 with rallies at the Centralia Public Library, Longview Women’s Club, and Gaiser Student Center College in Vancouver, her hometown.
So far, it’s known that Long will face fellow Vancouver resident Peter Khalil, a Democrat, and Republican Herrera Beutler of Battle Ground in the Aug. 4, 2020 primary election. Others may join the race. The top two vote-getters in the primary advance to the Nov. 3 general election.
Khalil, a Vancouver resident and legal mediator, announced his candidacy in April. According to a story in The Columbian, Khalil is running on four core tenets: anti-corruption, health care, environment and infrastructure.
A son of religious refugees from Egypt, he went on to graduate from Columbia University, where he studied political science. From there, Khalil attended law school at Stanford University, The Columbian reported. He has lived in Washington state for the past decade.
However, Long’s candidacy is likely to attract attention, considering that in 2018 she came closer than any previous contenders to unseating Herrera. District-wide, Herrera won 52.67% to Long’s 47.33 percent. Long won in the district’s most-populous county, Clark, 51.12% to Herrera’s 48.88%. Long came close in Pacific County, where she lost by 119 votes after late-arriving ballots were counted.
Explaining her decision to try again, Long said, “I picked myself up, dusted myself off, and I’m ready to go. We came very close to winning last time so it shows that our strategy was a good one. I’m going to continue getting out and into the communities to meet and listen to as many people as possible.”
Long said her top priorities for our area include bringing better high-speed broadband Internet access to Pacific County to assist with educational and business opportunities. She also wants an improvement in healthcare options and a reduction of drug prices.
“I know that many Americans want to keep their family doctors and private insurance, so I’m for a transitional approach where we add in a public option for those who want it,” she said in an interview. “I think that’s more feasible and achievable. And it’s an approach supported by both parties.”
Long said that Herrera voted with her party over 40 times to get rid of the Affordable Care Act without having anything to replace it. However, in May 2017 Herrera was one of 20 GOP House members who made the politically risky decision to break with their party to oppose a Republican alternative healthcare bill, because of objections to sharp rollbacks in patient coverage.
Long pledged to continue her local town halls because she feels our citizens are not being served by our current representative. “Time and time again we have watched as Southwest Washington gets left behind,” Long said. “For too long D.C. politicians have chosen to listen to powerful special-interest groups and corporations instead of listening to their constituents. We need common-sense solutions to move our country forward and it’s time we had someone who understands Southwest Washington’s values and knows how to get results, regardless of partisan politics.”
Long spoke about how President Trump’s tariff wars with Mexico and China have increased prices for many imported products and have damaged some industries. She talked about the importance of supporting regional industries — commercial fisheries and agriculture, among others — so that local citizens are employed in jobs that provide a living wage.
Long stressed that she grew up in a rural community and dropped out of school at one point to help her family get their small produce stand, John’s Fresh Produce, up and running when her father fell ill. Once she was able to complete her education, she became a teacher at Washington State University-Vancouver. She has now left that position to work full-time on her campaign.
Long said she has the full support of her family. “My husband doesn’t always agree with me on the issues but he is completely behind my effort to run,” she said by phone. “And my daughter Tennyson — who’s 14 going on 35 — wants me to win!”
“We’re announcing my run five months early this time,” she said. “And I’ll continue to run a respectful campaign on the issues and values I believe in and not on personality attacks.”
Long said she intends to focus on drawing contrasts between positions. As she says, “Look at Herrera Beutler’s record and make your own comparisons.” (To see a complete accounting of Herrera’s voting record, donors, and positions: https://tinyurl.com/yy8dyqgo).
“I’m running because I share the values and beliefs of hardworking Southwest Washingtonians,” Long said, “and I will put them into action in that other Washington.”