Congressional challenger Carolyn Long’s campaign announced Wednesday that the first-time candidate has raised more than $275,000 in her bid to unseat U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler.
The contributions are the most given to any 3rd District Democrat since 2010. Most of the money — about $235,000 — was contributed after Dec. 31. The campaign’s move to release its first-quarter fundraising total before an April 15 filing deadline comes as Long continues to press Herrera Beutler, a fourth-term Battle Ground Republican, and two other Democrats in the race. Long is vying with David McDevitt, a Vancouver businessman and licensed attorney, and Dorothy Gasque, an Iraq war veteran, to advance to the general election in November after the state’s top-two primary on Aug. 7. Long — a Washington State University Vancouver professor who formally launched her campaign on Nov. 30 — has received donations from more than 1,300 individual donors, her campaign said in a press release. About 83 percent of donations came from within the 3rd Congressional District, the campaign said.
“This is just one of many goals that we’re going to hit on our way to victory in November,” Long said in the release. “It all shows that Southwest Washingtonians want a member of Congress that is present, accountable and who will represent their values back in D.C.”
Wyatt Arnall, Long’s campaign manager, said the campaign is still working to verify figures for total expenditures and cash on hand. However, he noted that no Democratic challenger has exceeded Long’s fundraising total since Herrera Beutler was first elected in 2010. That year, Democratic challenger Denny Heck raised just short of $2 million.
Ridgefield Democrat Bob Dingethal raised $204,000 over the course of his failed congressional bid in 2014, and former state Rep. Jim Moeller raised $112,000 in 2016. Both candidates lost to Herrera Beutler by more than 20 percentage points.
Long’s fundraising release follows a poll conducted on behalf of her campaign in mid-March that showed Herrerra Beutler with a 39 percent approval rating among 3rd District voters. Just 38 percent of respondents said they would vote to re-elect the incumbent congresswoman, the poll found. The poll also found Long trailing Herrera Beutler by 20 percentage points upon an initial ballot — largely due to low name recognition. The survey also suggested Herrera Beutler could be vulnerable among independent voters.
“It’s good to know that (Long has) moved into second place in the Democrat primary in terms of money raised,” spokeswoman Angeline Riesterer said in a statement to The Daily News Wednesday. “Jaime had a strong fundraising quarter as well, which will give her a large cash on hand advantage to go on top of the 20-point lead she had in her opponent’s poll.”
The Gasque campaign declined to comment on Long’s early fundraising total. A spokeswoman told The Daily News that the campaign will file its disclosure report with the Federal Election Commission by the April 15 deadline. Gasque raised nearly $27,000 through Dec. 31, with $23,000 coming from individual donors.
Gasque and Long have each pledged not to accept money from corporate political action committees. However, both candidates have said they are willing to take PAC money from select labor unions and nonprofits.
McDevitt, meanwhile, questioned the Long campaign’s motive for releasing its numbers early. “What’s the motive to release only one piece of the information and not the remaining pieces?” he said in an interview. McDevitt said his upcoming disclosure report will show him leading all Democrats with at least $406,000 in cash on hand, most of it money he loaned to his campaign.
The two-time congressional candidate raised $115,000 during his unsuccessful 2016 congressional bid — with $100,000 coming through a personal loan to his campaign.
In addition, McDevitt has already loaned his campaign $300,000 during this election cycle. He acknowledged that loans will represent “a pretty significant chunk” of his war chest.
McDevitt also was not able to provide current figures for total spent or the number of individual donations received on Wednesday. “It’s my belief that what really is going to matter the most … is how much cash on hand is available in the war chest that’s being contrasted to Jaime Herrera Beutler’s war chest,” he said.
Herrera Beutler’s office reported late Wednesday night that it has raised $1 million for this campaign and has $750,000 of cash on hand. She raised $1.4 million during her re-election race in 2016.