Herrera Beutler, Long agree to debate

By Calley Hair

The Columbian

Both candidates running to represent Washington’s 3rd Congressional District have agreed to participate in their first formal debate ahead of the 2020 general election.

Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, and Democratic challenger Carolyn Long of Vancouver will face off in a debate hosted by the League of Women Voters and broadcast on Clark/Vancouver Television at 2 p.m. on Oct. 9.

“The participation of these candidates should offer voters an opportunity to see where they stand on a wide selection of important issues. This effort is all about our mission to empower voters through education,” Clark County League Co-Presidents Nancy Halvorson and Jane Johnson said in a media release Monday.

The debate will be co-sponsored by The Columbian, The Longview Daily News, the Skamania County Pioneer and the Goldendale Sentinel. It’s hosted by three regional branches of the League of Women Voters, from Clark, Cowlitz and Klickitat-Skamania counties.

The 3rd Congressional District also includes all of Pacific County.

The debate will be moderated by Steve Leader, a veteran journalist who spent more than 30 years at Portland’s KXL-FM radio before retiring in April.

Though this is Long’s second time challenging Herrera Beutler — the Democrat lost her 2018 race by 5 points — this is the first time the congresswoman has agreed to a formal debate. In October 2018, the League had to cancel a scheduled debate between Long and Herrera Beutler because Herrera Beutler never responded to their inquiries, instead declining the invitation through a statement to The Columbian.

The two candidates instead made their 2018 pitches to voters at packed candidate forums in Woodland and Goldendale. This year, they’ve appeared side-by-side in a remote conversation with The Columbian’s Editorial Board.

Last month, Long challenged Herrera Beutler to a series of three virtual debates, claiming that voters “deserve to see both of us on the virtual debate stage before November.” The Oct. 9 debate will fulfill a third of that challenge.

“Now, more than ever, the people in Washington’s 3rd Congressional District need to hear how both candidates plan to address the public health and economic crises facing our communities,” Long said.

The debate will be broadcast live on CVTV and available later for streaming at CVTV.org.