PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Jaime Herrera Beutler is in a battle to maintain her seat in Congress as results for the Washington primary are released.
Herrera Beutler, 43, has held the 3rd Congressional District seat since 2011. But she is facing a strong challenge from Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez and fellow GOP challengers Joe Kent and Heidi St. John.
As of 8:45 p.m., Perez has nearly 32% of the vote. Herrera Beutler has 24.5%, with Kent at 20% and St. John with 15%.
Under Washington’s primary system, the top two vote getters in each race Aug. 2 advance to the November election, regardless of party. Washington is a vote by mail state, and voters don’t have to declare a party affiliation.
Herrera Beutler’s vote to impeach then-President Donald Trump after the insurrection made her a target from other Republicans in this primary.
Overall turnout is expected to be around 25% for the primary.
Almost 15,000 ballots were delivered to the Clark County Elections Office Tuesday morning. Election officials said they expect to have between 65-70% of the votes counted quickly. As long as ballots are postmarked by 8 p.m. Tuesday they will be counted.
What the candidates said
Perez, who owns an auto repair shop and lives in rural Southwest Washington, said this is a fight for small business owners, rural voters and a hope for change in a district that has leaned more right in recent years.
“I was outspent 40-1 so this is something that is not about how much money I have or how much power I have,” she told KOIN 6 News. “This is about the truth. This is about small business owners. This is about young moms.”
“I’ve never voted to raise taxes, and right now protecting against that is incredibly important, as that’s what’s being talked about in DC,” Herrera Beutler said. She added her Southwest Washington roots and work with the people will give her strong footing in the area.
Kent, endorsed by Donald Trump, is a veteran. “I served the country for over 20 years, 11 combat deployments. I understand exactly how policies that are made in Washington DC affect people’s daily lives.”
St. John did not have an election night party and has not yet responded to a KOIN 6 News request for comment.