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Opinion Democrats are on a legislative roll. That’s great news for this congresswoman.

Rep. Kim Schrier (D-Wash.) at an Election Day event in Issaquah, Wash., on Aug. 2. (Ted S. Warren/AP)

The red wave might turn out to be more like a leaky faucet.

Congressional generic polls, which measure which party voters would like to control Congress, have swung toward Democrats in recent weeks. Moreover, Democrats in special elections in Nebraska’s 1st Congressional District and in Minnesota’s 1st have over-performed compared with the 2020 presidential race.

In the Minnesota race, as the Cook Political Report’s David Wasserman pointed out, Democrat Jeff Ettinger came with four points of upsetting Republican Brad Finstad even though Donald Trump won the district by 10 points in 2020. Likewise, in the Nebraska district, Trump’s 15-point margin in 2020 was cut down to just six points. Perhaps something is afoot.

That’s great news for Rep. Kim Schrier, the Democrat representing Washington’s 8th Congressional District. Her district, which is rated as a toss-up, was redrawn to include more rural and exurban areas and leave out more urban parts of the district.

One might think that would pose new challenges for a Democrat, but during a phone interview, Schrier told me that many of the concerns of her voters haven’t changed. “They worried about inflation, gas prices, health care and the cost of prescription drugs,” she said. They’re also worried about climate change, especially the firefighters in her state battling catastrophic wildfires and farmers affected by extreme weather. “These are people on the ground,” Schrier said.

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For Schrier, the recent string of Democratic legislative victories is a huge deal. “It is everything,” she said. In the lead-up to November, she will be able to point to the historic investment in green energy in the Inflation Reduction Act. She can also tout infrastructure investments and efforts to reduce drug costs for those on Medicare and to extend Affordable Care Act subsidies. Her pitch to voters since she first ran for office in 2018 was that should would be able to get things done. Now, that message is becoming more compelling.

The priorities of Schrier’s voters align with Democrats’ productive summer. “Capping the cost for prescription drugs for Medicare is huge,” she says. “But the notion of being self-sufficient, not dependent on China for things like microchips” also has resonance. She also points to her own work inserting provisions into last year’s infrastructure bill to help thin forests and prevent catastrophic fires. It amounts to a powerful message, she says: “I hear you. I’m taking your concerns seriously.”

On inflation, she shares her constituents “frustration” with high food and gas prices. She says her arguments that corporations have used inflation to charge exorbitant prices have found receptive audiences. She has also sponsored the anti-price-gouging bill that passed the House, with 203 Republicans opposing.

Another issue has come front and center: abortion rights. The Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision “comes up every day” she is out on the campaign trail, Schrier said. Voters are “really fired up about Republicans’ taking away fundamental rights.” She has run ads on the subject, and makes no bones about her unapologetically pro-choice stance. “I am the only pro-choice woman doctor in Congress. If anyone will go to bat for women, it’s me.”

Democrats must win races such as Schrier’s to have any chance of keeping Republican victories to a minimum, let alone holding the House. Her district remains a toss-up, but she now has more ammunition to make her case.

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