US House Races/Washington

Report by Bruce Driver from Indivisible North Boulder.

Washington District 3:

Candidates are Jaime Herrera Beutler (incumbent R) and Carolyn Long (D)

Beutler’s career has been in politics as far back as I could find.   She was staff for Cathy McMorris Rodgers, an incumbent in another WA district this year.   She was a Member of the WA State House of Representatives for two terms and has been her district’s Representative to the U.S. House for four terms.  She has a B.A. in Communications from the University of Washington. She won her open primary with 42% of the vote. She has voted with Trump 91% of the time.   She voted for the House Resolution that declared that a carbon tax would be detrimental to the U.S. economy and not in the public interest. She believes that renewable energy standards are not appropriate.   She voted “yea” on title transfer of non-hydro Bureau of Reclamation projects, for temporarily suspending Endangered Species protections to promote electric generation, hypocritically for a Balanced Budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution, while she also voted for the tax cut and Omnibus spending bills (adding up to $3 trillion to the national debt).  She voted for the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and is assumed by Vote Smart to be pro-life, and she voted to delay the implementation of federal ozone standards but against overriding Obama’s stream protection rule. She also voted against repealing and replacing Obamacare but for stripping federal funds from sanctuary cities and for “reform” of the EPA Science Board.   She supports E-verify, is open to the Wall and wants to make English the “official” language of the U.S. She has been endorsed by the NRA. So, she is a Trumpist with a couple exceptions. She had $1 million in cash on hand in mid-July. Her major contributors by interest group are: Retired people; Leadership PACs; Securities and Investment; Food and Beverage and Real Estate.

Long has been a professor of American Public Institutions and American Public Policy at Washington State University in Vancouver, WA since 1995.   She has a B.A. from University of Oregon and a Ph.D. from Rutgers, both in Political Science. Her expansive website states the following positions: (1) Healthcare: Reform Obamacare; provide a public option; reduce drug prices; and give mental health and addiction parity; (2) Seniors: Preserve Medicare and Social Security; (3) Campaign finance reform: Constitutional amendment to end Citizens United; disclosure of dark money; (4) Economy: We have a “rigged” economy; we need tax reform to help middle class and small business; (5) Education: More apprenticeships  and internships; (6) Women: She is pro-choice and says she will work for paid sick leave, equal pay for equal work and a higher minimum wage; (7) Environment: Climate change is real and immediate action is required (but what action she does not say), we must restore EPA and DOI powers; (8) Infrastructure: We must modernize the electric grid to accept more clean energy; (9) LGBTQ: She says she stands with this community and will work to pass federal anti-discrimination legislation; (10) Guns: While she supports the 2d. Amendment, she would support restricting firearms from domestic abusers and the mentally ill.   (She has a 7% rating from the NRA.); (11) Immigration: No Wall; pro Dream Act; provide a refuge for those fleeing persecution; (12) National security/foreign policy: Congress must take back power. So, on the issues she is a fairly conventional progressive. She had only $111,000 cash on hand in mid-July. Her major contributors by interest group include: Retired persons; Health professionals; Lawyers/Law firms; Building trade unions and Electronics manufacturers and equipment.

Description of District  This is SW and S-Central Washington.   Unlike the rest of Washington west of the Cascades, which is solid D, this is a highly competitive district with a Republican incumbent running again this fall.   Trump beat Hillary in this district by 7 points, it has a PVI of R+4, and Cook says that it is “likely R.” The city of Portland, Oregon, is immediately across the border from District 3, and the district is said to be in the Portland media market, but the district also goes well to the north and east of Portland.   Taken as a whole, it does not seem to have the eco-consciousness of either Seattle or Portland. It has no large cities and is largely rural, but it contains Longview, Vancouver, Unalaska and Roosevelt. It is 90% White, 1% Black, 3% Asian, 5% Hispanic and 1% Native American. Its HMI is $61,000, putting it in the middle of U.S. districts.

Summary: If you want to support a progressive in this district, Long is your candidate.   She is way behind Beutler in terms of cash on hand, so she needs our support.

Washington District 8:

Candidates are Kim Schrier (D) and Dino Rossi (R).   This an open district.   Rossi got the highest percentage of votes by a wide margin in the primary (43%).   Schrier’s election (she got 18% running against two other strong Ds) is not yet official, as the last of mailed-in ballots are still being counted, but she is all-but-certain to come in second to Rossi and, thus, move to the general election this fall.  

Schrier has been a pediatrician at the Virginia Mason Medical Center in the district since 2001.   She has a B.S. in Astrophysics from Berkeley and an M.D. from the University of California at Davis.  Her website sets forth the following positions: (1) Climate change/environment: Climate change is real and we need immediate action, including reducing carbon emissions (but she does not say what policies she would support); she would strip federal subsidies from oil and gas and support moving to 100% renewable energy “within our lifetime;” (2) Healthcare: Fix Obamacare; let all Americans buy into Medicare “on a sliding scale” (but she does not say what she means by this); (3) Women’s health: She is pro-choice; contraception should be widely available and covered by insurance; she’ll fight to increase funding for Planned Parenthood; (4) Vaccination: Every child should be vaccinated; should be required in order to attend pre- and elementary school; (5) Economy: Feds have vital role in supporting innovation; (6) Education: Improve STEM subject outcomes and promote no-interest loans for students and early childhood education; (7) Immigration: The Dream Act should be the law of the land; (8) Reform: A constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United; (9) Guns: fill in loopholes in background checks and keep “military-style” weapons out of the hands of people under 21, criminals and “people in crisis.”   So, she is progressive, no doubt, which will help her west of the mountains but not so much east of them. She had $655,000 cash on hand in mid-July. Her top contributors include: Retirees; Women’s issues orgs; Health professionals; Lawyers/Law firms and Education.

Rossi is an executive in a real estate firm, is an officer on an R precinct committee and has been in and out of politics for many years.   He has been a State Senator for 8 years and ran and lost races for U.S. Senator and Governor. He has a B.A. from Seattle University in Business Administration.   From his website: (1) Protecting the Vulnerable: He says he is a “fiscal conservative with a conscience,” but he does not say what he would promote if he is elected, except that he would preserve Medicare and Social Security; (2) Economy and Jobs: Repeal the estate tax; increase small business tax credits; make federal tax credits for the middle class permanent; (3) Government Reform: he says he will promote bi-partisanship; (4) Environment: he supports an all-of-the above energy policy and touts his conversion of the state motor pool to hybrid and plug-in vehicles.   He says nothing about climate change; (5) Immigration: he would increase border security (how?); improve the guest worker program and would fix the DACA program, saying that it is not logical to deport DACA recipients; (6) Healthcare: tax incentives for small business; reduce mandates (which ones?) and increase choices. Nothing on Obamacare. (7) Cybersecurity: He would bring private sector and federal government together to collaborate on solutions to cybersecurity and privacy. (I can’t think of any other candidates I have analyzed who have addressed this issue.)  (8) Stopping school violence: Congress should provide more resources to treat mental illness; don’t allow technologies that turn hunting weapons into automatic weapons. He has a 93% rating from the NRA. Maybe they know something we don’t know. Rossi is what might pass as a moderate R in the age of Trump. He had $1.8 million cash on hand in mid-July. His major contributors include Retired; Real estate; Republican/Conservative orgs.; Miscellaneous business and General contractors.

Description of District  This includes the eastern portions of King and Chelan counties to the West of the Cascades and east of Seattle, including the town of Auburn, and a portion of the state to the East of the mountains, including the towns of Ellenberg, Wenatchee and Leavenworth.   It is 80% White, 2% Black, 7% Asian and 10% Hispanic. Its PVI is “even,” and it is said to be a “toss-up” this fall, in part because the long-time incumbent Republican is not running. Hillary beat Trump by 3% in 2016. Yet, the district has an odd voting record, having voted for Ds for President since 1992 but only for Rs for the House, since it was created in 1982.   It has an HMI of $67,000, making it moderately wealthy. Twelve candidates ran in the primary.

Summary: Schrier can win this race but it will be an uphill fight.   Rossi is well-known, Schrier is not. Rossi is not a total Trumpist, in fact avoids mentioning him in his discussion of the issues.   Rossi has lots of money, Schrier is well behind him. Rossi does not address certain issues, such as climate change or LGBTQ. She will have to draw him out, and she will have to get before the cameras and in the print and social media or she will likely lose.   She needs our help.