By Carlos Fuentes, Columbian staff writer
Leslie Lewallen, the Republican candidate for Washington’s 3rd Congressional District next year, will kick off her campaign at 3 p.m. today at Natalia’s Diner in downtown Camas.
Lewallen, a former prosecutor with a law degree from Seattle University, has served on the Camas City Council since 2021.
“I am a fighter. I fought for my daughter’s life. I fought for our community on the city council, and I am going to continue fighting for our state from Washington, D.C.,” Lewallen said in a statement to The Columbian. “I promise to fight until we defeat Portland progressive Perez and return sanity back to Southwest Washington. Our state deserves better and I intend to deliver.”
Lewallen’s top concerns are homelessness, drug addiction, school safety, rising crime rates, and timber and economic issues, according to her campaign website.
In 2024, Washington’s 3rd Congressional District will either reelect Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, D-Skamania, or vote her out of office after one term.
It’s looking like the race will be a rematch between Perez and Joe Kent, who Perez narrowly defeated in last year’s contentious election. Kent is the most viable contender to gain a seat in Congress, according to election research groups, who have labeled next year’s race a toss-up.
But who else will be in the pool?
French, who received 0.5 percent of the district’s votes in last year’s primary, filed for re-election eight days after Election Day last fall.
The Camas resident, who ran as a Republican last fall, is a managing member at Believe LLC, according to his LinkedIn profile. Prior to that, he was a media services coordinator at Portland Community College between 2002 and 2013.
Ray, a Stevenson Democrat who ran in the 2020 and 2022 elections, filed a statement of candidacy on Aug. 11 last year. In the 2022 primary election, he received 2.2 percent of the 3rd Congressional District’s vote.
“I’d like to thank everyone for their support,” Ray said in a social media post last August. “I ran this campaign on a shoestring and burned through a lot of my savings but I’ve already contacted the FEC and changed my status to 2024 to keep the donation button active. So I’ll be back.”
Lewallen, a former prosecutor and current Camas City Council member, announced her campaign bid April 20 this year.
Lewallen, who registered as a Republican, told Clark County Today that she has a plan to raise more than $5 million to win the seat.
“We need leaders who will represent our communities and stand up for our values,” Lewallen told Clark County Today. “Now, we have a representative that is focused on supporting the unchecked progressive agenda of the Washington DC special interests and letting them call the shots.”
— Carlos Fuentes