Challenger Joe Kent has nearly overtaken US Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler in vote tallies released Friday, leaving the six-term incumbent on the brink of defeat amid Republican backlash over her vote to impeach former President Donald Trump.
Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse has survived his impeachment vote for now, moving up against Democrat Doug White in the fall when Trump-backed challenger Loren Culp finished 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, has increased in later figurescutting deep into Herrera Beutler’s lead and threatening to push her into third.
Kent has been gaining ground every day, in a trend line that points to him surpassing Herrera Beutler when more votes are counted next week.
Herrera Beutler “needs a miracle,” Dave Wasserman, an editor and election expert with the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, wrote on Twitter, calling Kent the “strong favorite to knock her out of the top two.”
As of Friday night, Herrera Beutler had 22.6% of the vote to Kent’s 22.5% – a margin of just 257 votes. Kent was behind with 1,945 on Thursday. There are an estimated 30,000 ballots left to count in Clark County, the district’s population center, which will count again Monday.
Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez remained in first place with about 31% of the vote, leaving her headed for a November runoff against either Kent or Herrera Beutler.
If it remains this close, the race will be subject to one mandatory recount.
A machine recount is required if the difference between the two candidates is less than 2,000 votes and also less than half of 1% percent of the total number of votes cast for the candidates. A manual recount is required if the candidates are separated by fewer than 150 votes and less than a quarter of 1% of the total votes for both candidates.
Kent’s momentum came in late polls despite a deluge of more than $4 million in outside PAC spending aim to save Herrera Beutler. Some of the money fueled ads boosting another Republican challenger and Kent rival, Heidi St. John, who finished fourth in the race.
In central Washington’s 4th District, Newhouse, R-Sunnyside, managed to clear the primary despite joining Herrera Beutler and eight other Republicans in voting to impeach Trump over the Jan. 6 attack 2021 at the US capital.
Newhouse was in first place with about 25.5% of the vote, narrowly ahead of Democrat Doug White with 25.4%. The Seattle Times has called the race for White and Newhouse.
Culp, the former small-town police chief and 2020 gubernatorial candidate, was in third place with 21% as the Republican vote against Newhouse was split among six challengers.
The county board is set to certify results on 16 August. The state-wide results must be certified by the Minister for Foreign Affairs before 19 August.