Political forecaster says Herrera Beutler re-election a safe bet

It sounds a little hokey, but “Sabato’s Crystal Ball” — a project of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia — has predicted the outcome of recent congressional races with impressive results.

So what do Larry Sabato and his figurative crystal ball have to say about Washington state’s 3rd Congressional District, an area currently represented by U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas? Sabato labels her district as “safe” for Republicans and predicts the first-term congresswoman is “likely” to win re-election.

The Center for Politics had a 99 percent success rate in 2004 when making predictions for the outcomes of many national and gubernatorial races, and the group was able foresee the Republican takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010. According to the Sabato’s Crystal Ball website: “In 2006 the Pew Research Center and the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Project for Excellence in Journalism recognized the Crystal Ball as the leader in the field of political predictors, noting that the site ‘came closer than any other of the top ten potential predictors this cycle.'”

The 3rd Congressional District will look a little more red come November, which increases Herrera Beutler’s chances for re-election. The district will lose voters from Olympia and gain voters from Klickitat County, east of the Cascades.

The congresswoman faces two challengers in the Aug. 7 primary election: Vancouver Democrat Jon Haugen, and Ocean Park resident Norma Stevens, who prefers no political party.

Haugen recently failed to earn the support of the state’s Democratic Party. Stevens ran for the same seat in 2010 and was eliminated in the primary after receiving 4.15 percent of the vote.

Stevie Mathieu: 360-735-4523 or stevie.mathieu@columbian.com or www.facebook.com/reportermathieu or www.twitter.com/col_politics

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