VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — The State of Washington holds its primary on Tuesday with the eyes of the nation peering at the 3rd Congressional District.
That race, with the seat currently held by Jaime Herrera Beutler, has drawn a lot of attention since she voted to impeach then-President Donald Trump following the insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.
There are a number of candidates seeking to oust her, including two Republicans, Joe Kent and Heidi St. John. The Democrats’ leading candidate is Marie Gluesenkamp Perez.
Each of the 4 leading candidates spoke with KOIN 6 News on the eve of the primary and answered one simple question: Why should voters in Southwest Washington choose them and what sets them apart from the rest of the field?
Herrera Beutler said she is the only candidate in the race who will put the needs of the district first.
“I’ve stood up to and worked with Republican and Democrat presidents to get things done,” Herrera Beutler said.
“We have a real chance right now to get rid of a 12 year incumbent, who has failed to represent us,” Kent said. “I’m not a traditional politician. I’ve never been in politics before, I’m a warrior. I’ve fought for this country for over 20 years, and I want to continue that fight, because I believe the people in this district deserve someone that’s ready to go fight for them in Washington DC.”
Trump has endorsed Kent, a regular on conservative cable shows who echoes the former president’s grievances about the 2020 election outcome.
St. John, a Christian author and home-school advocate who shares those views, rescinded a pledge to drop out of the race and support whomever Trump endorsed and has attacked Kent, saying she’s the only true conservative in the race.
St. John, who said she’s “been working for the citizens of Southwest Washington for about 20 years,” said freedom and education are her priorities. “I’m a business owner. I’ve lived here a long time.”
The leading Democrat, Gluesenkamp Perez, said it “feels like I’m the only one in the race who is not extremist.” She said that “if you’re against abortion and contraception, you’re an extremist.”
Ballots will be accepted in Washington as long as they are postmarked by 8 p.m. Tuesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.