Democrat Carolyn Long announced Monday she’s waging a second challenge against Republican incumbent Jaime Herrera Beutler for southwest Washington’s 3rd Congressional District.

Carolyn Long greets supporters on Election Night in Vancouver, Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018.

Carolyn Long greets supporters on Election Night in Vancouver, Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018.

Steven Tonthat/OPB

Long, a political science professor at Washington State University in Vancouver, drew 47% of the vote last November. The race was one of the most competitive Herrera Beutler has faced since she was first elected in 2010.

In an interview at her home in Vancouver Friday afternoon, Long spoke with OPB on her decision to challenge Herrera Beutler a second time.

“I’m a very intentional person,” she said. “And once I saw a nice pathway, we started putting things together.”

The issues she ran on previously are the same ones she plans to emphasize in this campaign: affordable health care, building infrastructure and protecting the environment.

“Southwest Washington is fiercely independent, and I think that that reflects who I am,” Long said. “I’m a problem solver, I like to get into the weeds on policy, and I think the people want a representative like that.”

Long is announcing her candidacy Monday with a series of rallies in Centralia, Longview and Vancouver. Starting in Centralia, a smaller town in largely red Lewis County, was a deliberate campaign choice.

“I want to focus on all parts of the district,” Long said. “And we want there to be an emphasis, especially, on rural communities.”

Last year’s race between Long and Herrera Beutler was closer than many had initially expected. In previous elections, Herrera Beutler beat her challengers with double digit leads.

“Most people didn’t believe it was a competitive district, but we made it a competitive district,” said Long about Washington’s 3rd District, which includes urban Vancouver and Clark County and spans west from the Pacific Coast out east to rural ranchland around Goldendale.

Democrat Peter Khalil, a legal mediator in Vancouver, is also vying for Herrera Beutler’s seat. Khalil announced his campaign in April.

To secure a win against Herrera Beutler in 2020, Long is banking on grassroots organizing and a larger electorate voting during a presidential year, as well as better name recognition.

“The experience last time showed that people really were interested in the campaign, that our messages reflected those of the people of southwest Washington,” Long said. “And it shows us we need to keep working.”