3rd District seat draws candidates to area

LACEY - Republican U.S. House candidate Jaime Herrera will be in town Monday for a breakfast fundraiser expected to bring out many of Thurston County's Republican leaders. Her visit comes on the heels of rival Democratic candidate Denny Heck steering his "Let's Get to Work" jobs tour briefly into Thurston County on Thursday morning.

Both are running for retiring U.S. Rep. Brian Baird’s 3rd Congressional District position, which serves most of Southwest Washington.

The two candidates differ on federal tax policy and the federal stimulus effort – with Heck favoring a continuation of Bush-era income tax cuts except for those on the top two income brackets, and Herrera wanting to extend all the tax breaks. Heck also has credited the stimulus with saving jobs and says he wants Congress to pass targeted tax breaks that spur hiring by business and investment in alternative energy.

Heck also supported the small-business lending bill passed by the U.S. Senate on Thursday, and Herrera has opposed the $30 billion in extra aid for regional lenders.

The fundraiser is the highest-profile visit to South Sound by Herrera during the campaign. She is a state lawmaker from Camas who formerly served as a senior aide to U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers. Heck is an Olympia-based entrepreneur and a former state lawmaker, a former governor’s aide and the co-founder of the TVW network.

Heck’s jobs tour began Sept. 13 and included a roundtable talk in Vancouver with small-business owners affected by the economic downturn. He stopped Thursday at Michael’s, a truck stop restaurant at 93rd Avenue south of Tumwater, to talk to workers affected by the downturn.

He is scheduled to return to Vancouver on Monday for a boat tour and visits along the Columbia River with businesses.

National Democratic and Republican groups have begun reserving air time in Portland and elsewhere in the district for a high-profile battle. Right-leaning groups such as Americans for Prosperity also have run ads attacking Heck.

A poll done for KING-5 TV on Wednesday by SurveyUSA found Herrera leading by 52 percent to 43 percent, slightly closer than in its August poll.

Brad Shannon: 360-753-1688 bshannon@theolympian.com www.theolympian.com/politicsblog