Emily's List, the powerhouse national Democratic fundraising group, has entered its third Washington congressional race, endorsing Carolyn Long in the 3rd District of Southwest Washington.
It was the first of two outside groups to intervene Monday in Washington races. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is airing a TV spot boosting Republican Dino Rossi in the closely fought 8th District, now held by retiring Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash.
Carolyn Long is a longtime political science professor at Washington State University -- Vancouver.
She is mounting an increasingly credible challenge to U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, a low-visibility Republican who has coasted to reelection after the state's redistricting commission excised Democratic turf in Thurston County from her district.
Emily's List "bundles" donations to chosen candidates. It is backing Lisa Brown in the 5th District and Kim Schrier in the 8th District.
The national group helped get its start with a Washington race 30 years ago, in the 3rd District, when it threw support behind Democrat Jolene Unsoeld. It scored a major win four years later with election of Sen. Patty Murray, and has since helped elect Reps. Suzan DelBene and Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash.
Emily's List has channeled more than $500 million to pro-choice Democratic women over the past 30 years, from 5 million donors.
The group has come under some fire in the 8th District, for picking Schrier, an Issaquah pediatrician, over fellow woman Democrat Dr. Shannon Hader, who held a senior manager's job at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Emily's List is also lining up in two races where the Republican incumbent is a woman. Lisa Brown is challenging Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., a member of the House Republican leadership, while Long is running against Herrera Beutler.
"She (Herrera Beutler) has failed to stand up for the people she was elected to represent and has instead acted as a rubber stamp for her party's harmful agenda," said Stephanie Schriock, president of Emily's List.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce loves Dino Rossi. He was beneficiary in 2010 when the Washington, D.C., group put $997,000 into a last-minute bid to support Rossi's challenge to Patty Murray. He lost.
"Dino Rossi knows how important trade is: He will work to protect our jobs," says the Chamber's new spot.
Late last week, the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce put out a statement, reiterating that it severed ties with the U.S. Chamber several years ago.