Herrera Beutler struggling as Kent win in WA 3rd District; Newhouse progresses in the 4th

Challenger Joe Kent nearly overtook U.S. Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler in the vote tally released Friday, leaving the six-term incumbent on the brink of defeat amid Republican backlash against her vote to impeach former President Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, U.S. Representative Dan Newhouse has so far survived his impeachment vote, advancing to face Democrat Doug White this fall as Trump-backed challenger Loren Culp came in third.

Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, had been in second place since election night in the 3rd District race in southwest Washington.

But Kent, her Trump-endorsed Republican challenger, surged in later counts, cutting deep into Herrera Beutler’s lead and threatening to push her into third place.

Kent has been gaining ground each day, in a trendline that points him ahead of Herrera Beutler when more votes are counted next week.

Herrera Beutler “needs a miracle,” Dave Wasserman, editor and election expert for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, wrote on Twitter, calling Kent a “strong favorite to knock her out of the top two.”

On Friday night, Herrera Beutler had 22.6% of the vote to Kent’s 22.5% – a margin of just 257 votes. Kent had trailed by 1,945 on Thursday. An estimated 30,000 ballots remain to be counted in Clark County, the district’s population center, which will continue counting votes Monday.

Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez remained in first place with around 31% of the vote, leaving her headed for a November matchup against Kent or Herrera Beutler.

If it remains this tight, the race will be subject to a mandatory recount.

An automatic recount is required if the difference between the two candidates is less than 2,000 votes and also less than half of 1% of the total votes cast for the candidates. A manual recount is required if the candidates are separated by less than 150 votes and less than a quarter of 1% of the total votes for both candidates.

Kent’s momentum came in the late polls despite a deluge of more than $4 million in outside PAC spending aimed at saving Herrera Beutler. Some of that money fueled ads boosting another Republican challenger and Kent rival, Heidi St. John, who placed fourth in the race.

In central Washington’s 4th District, Newhouse, R-Sunnyside, managed to wipe out the primary despite joining Herrera Beutler and eight other Republicans in voting to impeach Trump in the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol.

Newhouse was in first place with about 25.5% of the vote, narrowly edging out Democrat Doug White at 25.4%. The Seattle Times called the race for White and Newhouse.

Culp, the former small-town police chief and 2020 gubernatorial candidate, was in third place with 21%, with the anti-Newhouse vote among Republicans split among six challengers.

County canvassing boards must certify the results Aug. 16. Statewide results must be certified by the Secretary of State by Aug. 19.

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