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Race of the Day: Seeing Red in the Pacific Northwest

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

After supporting his party’s unpopular agenda of more spending and less jobs, Democrat Brian Baird threw in the towel rather than face what would be an uphill battle to re-election. Now, his exit has left one of the country’s most moderate districts up for grabs. Washington’s Third Congressional District came further into the spotlight after Republican Jaime Herrera’s impressive performance in last Tuesday’s primary. The jungle primary’s results between Herrera and Democrat Denny Heck proved this race will be an exciting one to watch.

Washington’s Third Congressional District is located in the state’s southwestern corner and is known as one of the region’s leading international trading areas, specializing in log and timber exports.

The district spans from Olympia south to Vancouver, with views of the ocean to the cascades. The district’s population center is Clark County, where more than half of the third district’s residents live. Tens of thousands of county residents commute across the Columbia River each day to jobs in Oregon, many of them in Portland.

Politically, the district is unlike most and is one of only nine districts that the Cook Political Report rates as even. George W. Bush has won twice in this statistically split district, once in 2000 winning with 48 percent of the vote and again in 2004 with 50 percent of the vote. In 2008, President Barack Obama won the district with 53 percent of the vote. With voters angry over the Democrats’ failed economic agenda, this district is ripe for Republican taking. Republican candidate Jaime Herrera is an impressive one. After receiving double the votes of her closest Republican rival and coming in a narrow margin of Heck, who had little-to-no opposition from within his party, Herrera proved she is a force to be reckoned with.

As an independent-minded leader, Herrera will provide commonsense solutions, rather than partisan ideologies. From 2005 to 2007, Herrera served as a Senior Legislative Aide for Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, acting as the Congresswoman’s lead advisor on healthcare policy, education, veterans’ and women’s issues. In 2007, Herrera was appointed to a vacancy as State Representative in Washington State’s 18th Legislative District. After serving in the 2008 legislative session, she was successfully elected with 60% of the vote in 2008.

Herrera’s opponent in November is Denny Heck, a Democrat who supports the same job-killing policies the out-of-touch Democrat majority has been forcing upon Americans. The former five-term State Representative and majority leader from liberal Olympia supports the same Democrat agenda that has led our nation to sky-high unemployment and a ballooning national debt. For instance, Heck supports the Democrat’s healthcare law, which places punishing burdens and new taxes on small businesses and middle-class families.

Baird’s retirement allows Washington families to start fresh and elect an independent, hard working and effective leader like Jaime Herrera. Herrera is dedicated to getting the economy going again and building a more fiscally sound Washington.

Please visit Herrera’s website and Facebook page, or follow her on Twitter for more information.

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