GOP Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler has lost her bid for reelection in a primary in Washington state, the latest blow for the group of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach then-President Donald Trump early last year.
Herrera Beutler conceded Tuesday that she would fail to finish in the top two of the all-party primary in her state's 3rd Congressional District. Instead, Trump-endorsed Joe Kent and Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez will face off in November. The primary was on Aug. 2, but vote counting has continued over the past week in the all-mail primary.
Kent attended the "Justice for J6" rally in Washington, D.C., in support of Jan. 6 rioters. Herrera Beutler also faced competition from conservative Heidi St. John, which threatened to split the anti-incumbent vote in a way that helped Herrera Beutler. But Kent finished narrowly ahead of her anyway.
Herrera Beutler, first elected in 2010, is a well-respected member of the House GOP Conference. She and her allies vastly outspent her opponents on the airwaves. She aired some $1.7 million in TV ads and Winning for Women, a group dedicated to electing Republican women, spent even more.
Kent spent $620,000, just a fraction of the pro-incumbent spending. But he did receive a tele-town hall with Trump in the final days of the race. His victory demonstrates the potency of the impeachment vote. In both this race and in Michigan, Trump-backed challengers were able to overcome massive spending deficits to beat well-funded incumbents who supported impeachment.
Herrera Beutler is the third GOP impeachment voter to lose in a primary this year, after Reps. Peter Meijer (R-Mich.) and Tom Rice (R-S.C.). Another two, Reps. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) and David Valadao (R-Calif.), advanced through all-party primaries to their respective general elections. And four members - Reps. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio), John Katko (R-N.Y.), Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) and Fred Upton (R-Mich.) - decided not to run for reelection.
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) will be the final GOP impeachment supporter to face primary voters next week in her state.
A former Green Beret, Kent lost his wife to a suicide bomber in 2019. He became a favorite of conservative media but also has ties to right-wing extremists. He has also been critical of GOP leadership.
"I've gone out from the beginning and said that Kevin McCarthy can't be our speaker," Kent told POLITICO.
Republicans facing Trump's wrath have taken different approaches in handling the impeachment fallout. Herrera Beutler has stood by her vote - but has shied away from making it a focal point of her campaign, while competitors like Kent attacked the incumbent on the issue.
Trump won the district by fewer than 5 points in 2020, so it was expected that a Democrat would secure one of the spots in the general election. Though Herrera Beutler had to fight to retain her seat during the Democratic wave in 2018, the seat has not been considered a battleground this year, though it remains to be seen how Kent will play as a general election candidate.