State Rep. Jamie Herrera now has a commanding lead in the GOP primary. Rep. Brian Baird (D) is retiring and this is an excellent pick-up opportunity for the GOP. If she wins, Herrera will instantly become a national spokesman for the Republican Party.
Herrera and her primary opponent are Hispanic, and they both advocate a tough crackdown on illegal immigration. She supports beefing up security measures at the border, refusing driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants and, like Arizona, using local law enforcement to identify people who could be deported. She says “I will be a member of Congress more concerned with saving your money than spending your money. . . Any real reform will start by stemming the flow of those entering this country illegally. I do not support amnesty for illegal immigrants.”
The district is basically suburban Portland (Vancouver, Washington) on the Washington side of the Columbia, with a large rural area. Vancouver has many young professionals who want nicer homes but cannot afford to live in Lake Oswego and West Linn. The district is not at all like Portland, with its very liberal bent. Congressman Baird was a “Blue Dog”–who famously averred to the growing tea party movement in his district as “brownshirts”.
Under great pressure from his district, he voted against the health care reform bill. He then announced his retirement and voted FOR the final HCR bill. There are strong rumors he has been promised a federal job in return for his vote but that it will not be official until the next Congress.
Herrera and her husband Daniel met when they were both interns in the office of Congresswoman Rodgers.