Incumbent U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler will once again face off against challenger Carolyn Long in November for the 3rd Congressional District seat.
Herrera Beutler, a Battle Ground Republican, secured 55.07% of votes in early primary results compared to Democrat Long’s 40.85%, a difference of more than 24,000 ballots. (In Cowlitz County, Herrera Beutler led Long 59.3% to 36.5%.)
The other candidates, independent Martin Hash and Democrats Devin Gray and Davy Ray, tallied less than 5% of votes combined.
Those initial results give Herrera Beutler a stronger lead than she had during 2018’s primary, when she took nearly 41% of votes to Long’s 37% in the first-night of that year’s August primary results.
However, a crowded field that year meant both received a smaller percentage of initial returns. And with a presidential election on the November ballot this year, voter turnout is likely to be higher across the board.
In initial 2020 primary results, Herrera Beutler led Long in every county, including Clark County where she held a 3.3% lead.
According to the Secretary of State, as of Wednesday afternoon, Cowlitz County Elections had counted 22,800 ballots but had another estimated 5,000 on hand to be processed.
Long, a professor at Washington State University Vancouver, announced her campaign in July 2019 and has run on revising the Affordable Care Act and pairing it with a public option. She has also called for expanding broadband access in rural areas and reducing the cost of pharmaceuticals.
Herrera Beutler, meanwhile, has voted to repeal the ACA and reform the healthcare system through new legislation. She has touted her bipartisan efforts in the legislature, such as her work on preventing maternal mortality and addressing sea lion depredation of salmon stocks.
The 3rd District encompasses Clark, Cowlitz, Lewis, Pacific, Wahkiakum, Skamania and Klickitat counties and a sliver of Thurston County.
In the 2018 general election, Herrera Beutler defeated Long with 52.7% of votes to Long’s 47.3%, securing her fifth term representing Southwest Washington.
What the primary results mean for November’s general election remains to be seen. Findings by the Cook Political Report in July identified the 2020 race as tightening, listing the race as “leaning Republican,” a shift from its earlier forecast that the race was “likely Republican.”
If fundraising is any indication, both Long and Herrera Beutler are prepared for a fight.
Note: This story has been updated with Wednesday's election results.
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