Candidates being… candid?

Candidates have been opening up lately about other politicians, even those in their own party.

State Rep. Jim Moeller, D-Vancouver, was candid when speaking about Jon Haugen, the Democrat running to unseat first term U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas.

“Jon’s a terrible candidate,” Moeller said while discussing the recent decision made by the Washington State Democrat’s central committee to essentially endorse Haugen.

During the Washington State Democratic Convention in June, Haugen did not receive his party’s nomination, despite being the only Democrat in the race. Haugen said the lack of an earlier endorsement has harmed his campaign.

“I was kind of amused by Jon’s assertion that this kept him from fundraising,” Moeller said. “If he wanted to (fundraise), he could actually have a fundraiser.”

Moeller led the charge against Haugen at the state convention, but he ultimately ended up voting in favor of nominating Haugen later at the central committee meeting. That’s because Democrats from his district — the 49th — had agreed to support Haugen, and Moeller said he had to honor that.

Meanwhile, state Rep. Paul Harris, R-Vancouver, was asked during a recent Columbian editorial board meeting to share his thoughts about state Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver. Harris and Benton both represent the 17th Legislative District.

Harris said he thinks Benton has done a great job representing the district, but Harris noted that he and Benton have their differences.

“Don’s Don,” Harris said. “Don’s completely different than I am, and I don’t mean that in a negative way. Don has out raised me in money. Don’s great at certain things. I think I’m better at certain things. I think it’s really important, just to speak about myself for just a second, is I’m in district a lot. I attend a lot of in-district meetings. I’m engaged very well in the district. Don probably doesn’t attend as many district things as I do at times.”

At the end of the meeting, Harris criticized Benton for refusing to participate in the same type of interview with The Columbian’s editorial board.

“No matter what happens, if I’m re elected, I will always come back to see you,” Harris said. “I told Don he should have been here. … He needs to show up.”

Republican candidate Julie Olson, who’s also running in the 17th District, also weighed in on Benton during an earlier editorial board meeting. Asked to grade Benton and his opponent, Rep. Tim Probst, D-Vancouver, Olson gave Probst a B- and Benton a B. Olson complimented Probst for being accessible to constituents.

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