Perhaps it’s the sheer number of mass shootings this year (262 at last count), the high profile work of students or some other unknowable factor but something’s different about the debate around gun laws in the U.S.
Nowhere is this more obvious than in the 2018 midterm elections. Particularly in Washington state, candidates are calling out their stances as related to gun laws with many receiving the vocal support of organizations including Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and The Alliance for Gun Responsibility .
In Washington state, there are several hotly contested races at all levels. If you’re in support of common sense gun laws, here are some races to watch (or, if they're in your area, vote in!).
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Washington State 3rd Congressional District
Carolyn Long (D) v. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-incumbent)
Carolyn Long is a political science professor at Washington State University in Vancouver who teaches constitutional law, civil liberties and judicial process. She has a strong statement on gun violence on her website and is endorsed by The Alliance for Gun Responsibility.
Her competitor, Jaime Herrera Beutler, has the NRA’s “A” rating as a legislator, meaning that she has been consistently supportive of the NRA position on gun rights during her tenure in office.
The race was originally not thought to be competitive — Beutler is seeking a fifth term — but after Long carried Clark County in the primaries, “this one-time long shot has developed into a competitive race,” per the Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan political analysis newsletter.
If Long wins in November, the Congressional seat would flip from Republican to Democrat.
Washington State 5th Congressional District
Lisa Brown (D) v. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-incumbent)
Lisa Brown has held statewide office before, both in the House and Senate. She has strong record on health issues including increasing mental health insurance coverage.
This district is located in eastern Washington and has elected Republicans to this seat for two decades, making Brown's near tie with McMorris Rodgers in the primary national news.
Brown is endorsed by both Moms Demand Action and The Alliance for Gun Responsibility. In February, she published a formal statement regarding gun violence following the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Fla.
This seat would flip from Republican to Democrat should Brown win in November.
Washington State Senate 6th Legislative District
Jessa Lewis (D) v. Jeff Holy (R)
Jessa Lewis has a varied background as a park ranger, timber sale planner and, most recently, the eastern Washington director of Health Care for All, which promotes single payer health plan.
She's also open about her stance on guns. "Jessa grew up in a household where hunting was how they put food on the table and as a teenager she competed in marksmanship in 4-H," reads her website. "She currently has a concealed carry permit."
Lewis is also endorsed by both the Alliance for Gun Responsibility and Moms Demand Action.
Washington State Senate 30th Legislative District
Claire Wilson (D) v. Mark Miloscia (R-incumbent)
Mark Miloscia began his political career as a Democrat but switched to the Republican party in 2014. He has no official position on guns on his website but did vote to ban bump stocks earlier this year.
His opponent, Claire Wilson, worked for the Puget Sound Educational Service District for 25 years and believes that gun violence should be treated as a public health issue. She's endorsed by The Alliance for Gun Responsibility and Moms Demand Action.
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