Incumbent U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, might be holding off on saying whether she will vote for her party’s presidential candidate, but it isn’t stopping her party from backing her.
Herrera Beutler emerged as the clear winner of Tuesday’s primary, with her most formidable Democratic challenger, state Rep. Jim Moeller of Vancouver, coming in second.
Herrera Beutler captured 53.85 percent of the vote, according to preliminary results. Moeller, who served as speaker pro tempore of the state House, pulled in 25.67 percent of the vote.
Herrera Beutler said she’s not taking anything for granted, but she is grateful for the affirmative nod from voters.
“What’s important to me is people have access to health care, a good job, they can thrive and raise their families,” she said Tuesday night.
Four other candidates in the race won’t advance to the general election.
David McDevitt, a Democrat who politically aligns with Moeller on several issues, received 10.19 percent of the vote. Lucia Worthington looks to be out of the race, too, after receiving only 2.73 percent of the vote. Kathleen Arthur, a Democrat, received 3.5 percent, and Angela Marx, also a Democrat, received 4 percent.
Moeller, who will now face Herrera Beutler in the general election, said without the other Democrats in the race he’s within “shouting distance” of Herrera Beutler.
Moeller is a chemical dependency counselor with Kaiser Permanente. He served eight years on the Vancouver City Council before being elected to a 49th Legislative District House seat in 2002.
“I’m the democratically-leaning of the Democratic party,” Moeller said Tuesday evening. “I’m going to stump for $15 minimum wage, stump for the aged, blind, disabled. I’m going to show up at work. She’s been the absentee representative for so long.”
As a state representative, he pushed to divest the state’s retirement accounts from investing in Darfur oil fields, he said. Moeller has consistently pushed for a measure to require lobbyists and their employers to file electronic expense reports, in an effort to provide greater transparency, and create a searchable online database through the state’s Public Disclosure Commission.
Herrera Beutler said she would use her fourth term to continue to create jobs for Southwest Washington residents. While campaigning, the Ridgefield native touted her Southwest Washington roots and said she would work hardest for the district. Herrera Beutler has crafted legislation to help create a nationwide network of providers to help medically complex children. She also has championed efforts to reduce the wait times for veterans who need medical care.
In 2014, Herrera Beutler defeated Democratic challenger Bob Dingethal to win a third term in Congress with 60 percent of the votes.
During redistricting in 2011, the 3rd Congressional District was redrawn to give Republicans relative political security in the district that encompasses Clark County and much of Southwest Washington.