Carolyn Long, the Democrat pursuing a rematch against Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler in southwest Washington’s 3rd Congressional District, has raised more than $1 million in what is looking like the state’s most competitive House-incumbent challenge of 2020.
Long, a political-science professor at Washington State University’s Vancouver campus, pulled in $460,000 in the final three months of last year — virtually the same amount over that period as Herrera Beutler, R-Vancouver, according to a new filing Friday with the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
Herrera Beutler, the five-term incumbent, still has an overall fundraising lead, with about $1.5 million raised, and $1 million in the bank, compared with Long’s $770,000. Herrera Beutler weathered a tough year for Republicans in 2018, taking 53% of the vote against Long, then a first-time candidate.
While the closeness of the 3rd District race in 2018 emerged as somewhat of a surprise, this time national Democrats are targeting the 3rd District early. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee recently named Long as one of a dozen candidates in its “Red to Blue” program highlighting strong challengers who could help expand the party’s House majority.
Friday’s FEC filings cover fundraising through the end of 2019.
Meanwhile, the fundraising numbers don’t bode well for Republicans hoping to retake Washington’s 8th Congressional District by unseating Rep. Kim Schrier, D-Sammamish, a pediatrician who two years ago became the first Democrat to win the traditionally Republican district.
Republican Jesse Jensen, a military veteran and Amazon manager, raised $64,000 since announcing his candidacy in October. He was left with $28,000 cash on hand as of the end of 2019, according to his FEC filing. Another Republican challenger, Keith Swank, has reported raising $7,500.
By comparison, Schrier has raised more than $2.1 million so far, with $1.6 million cash on hand, according to her Friday filing.
The 8th District runs from east King and Pierce counties, including Sammamish, Issaquah and Auburn, and runs across the Cascade Mountains to Kittitas and Chelan counties. Before Schrier’s win, it had always been represented by a Republican since its creation after the 1980 U.S. Census.
Two years ago, the district became one of the hottest congressional races in the country, following the retirement of Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Auburn. The general-election fight between Schrier and Republican Dino Rossi set a record as the costliest U.S. House race in state history, with more than $28 million in total spending, fueled by outside groups pouring in tens of millions of dollars.
Though political winds can change, the early fundraising numbers suggest the 8th District won’t repeat as a nationally watched contest.
Carolyn Long and Jaime Herrera Beutler each raised about $460,000 during the final three months of 2019. An earlier version of this article gave an incorrect figure.