Dozens of politically minded locals packed into Washougal’s 54?40′ Brewing Company last week to attend a fundraiser for congressional candidate Carolyn Long.
Long, a longtime political science professor at Washington State University Vancouver, is one of at least three Democratic candidates hoping to unseat Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler and represent Washington’s 3rd Congressional District.
The May 9 fundraiser attracted several Long supporters from the Washougal community, including Washougal City Councilwoman and Mayor Pro Tem Joyce Lindsay.
“It’s not just her message, it’s her,” Lindsay said when asked what prompted her to support Long. “She is smart and capable. She’s a stellar person and will be a stellar congresswoman.”
The 51-year-old candidate will face at least two Democratic challengers — David McDevitt and Dorothy Gasque — as well as incumbent Herrera Beutler and Republican candidate Earl Bowerman of Camas, in the Aug. 7 primary election. Other candidates have until May 18 to file. The top two vote-getters in the primary will advance to the Nov. 6, 2018 General Election.
Rep. Herrera Beutler, a Republican from Battle Ground, has served the 3rd District since 2010. The congresswoman has been criticized by other candidates and constituents for her lack of in-person town halls. In the past year, Herrera Beutler has only held one in-person town hall, but has held several phone-in “town halls” that drew thousands of interested 3rd District residents.
Long said she understands the importance of face-to-face conversations. As a professor, she sent political science students into the community to meet with voters from every party affiliation in an effort to find the commonalities that bring people together.
“Even with a diverse group of people, there are common values people share,” Long said, speaking to The Post-Record before her May 9 fundraiser at 54?40′. “We may think differently, but we are able to have a conversation about policy solutions.”
Over the past four months, Long has hosted six town halls and talked to more than 1,500 people in the 3rd District. There are common themes everywhere she goes, Long said. People are concerned about economic insecurity, access to health care and affordable housing. In Washougal, she often hears from people who worry about protecting the environment. And in Camas, she heard a lot about the recent downsizing and layoffs at the Georgia-Pacific paper mill. But the one thing Long is noticing is that many people seem to have soured on the deeply partisan politics seen in and since the 2016 presidential election.
“People have lost their appetite for this deep polarization,” Long said. “They see that Congress is so tribal, nothing is getting done.”
If elected to Congress, Long said, she would work to bridge that partisan divide. Her campaign slogan is “People Over Politics – Taking Washington Back From D.C.” So far, it seems to be an appealing message to many voters in the 3rd District. As of the last contributions filing on March 31, Long had raised $278,949, with the vast majority (more than 80 percent) of those donations coming from people inside the 3rd District.
She trails Herrera Beutler and Democrat challenger McDevitt in terms of total contributions, with the incumbent raising $971,409 in contributions so far, and McDevitt having a total of $425,001 in contributions, including more than $400,000 of his own money.
According to her campaign literature, the candidate grew up in a rural community on the Oregon coast, started working at her family’s produce store when she was 12 years old, moved up to produce department manager at a local Safeway, became a journeyman with the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555 union, paid her own way through college at the University of Oregon, and later attended graduate school at Rutgers University in New Jersey. She has worked for WSU Vancouver since 1995. Long lives in Vancouver with her husband, Kevin, their 13-year-old daughter, Tennyson and the family dog, Ljubica. For more information about her campaign, visit her website at electlong.com.