VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — Jaime Herrera Beutler, who represented Washington’s 3rd District since 2011, conceded her re-election race moments after the latest vote totals were released from the Washington Secretary of State late Tuesday afternoon.

Herrera Beutler cut into GOP challenger Joe Kent’s lead but, as of 5:30 p.m., still trailed by 928 votes. The 43-year-old congresswoman then released a statement thanking the voters of Southwest Washington for electing her to 6 terms in the US House of Representatives.

“Ever since I was first elected to this seat I have done my very best to serve my home region and our country. Though my campaign came up short this time, I’m proud of all we’ve accomplished together for the place where I was raised and still call home,” she said.

She will continue to serve in Congress until January 3, 2023.

Read the full statement from Jaime Herrera Beutler at the bottom of this article

The battle between Herrera Beutler and Kent is a now-familiar tale: She voted to impeach Donald Trump following the insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, and he was endorsed by Trump in the primary.

Kent, a Trump-backed former Green Beret who has pushed election conspiracy theories and has ties to right-wing groups, will now face Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez in the November 2022 election.

Trump released a statement Tuesday night in support of Kent.

“Joe Kent just won an incredible race against all odds in Washington State. Importantly, he knocked out yet another impeacher, Jaime Herrera Beutler, who so stupidly played right into the hands of the Democrats. Joe is a wonderful guy, who bravely served our country as a Green Beret. He has a truly bright future,” Trump said.

The lengthy vote tally is not unusual

In Washington, all the candidates are on just one ballot. The top two vote-getters, regardless of their party affiliation, move on to November’s general election.

Washington is also a state that allows postmarked ballots to be accepted. If a ballot is postmarked by 8 p.m. on election night, that vote will be counted.

Many ballots came in at the last minute — in Clark County, more than 90,000 ballots arrived in ballot boxes on and around election day.

Overall, 143,000 votes were cast in the county.

Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey, August 8, 2022 (KOIN)
Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey, August 8, 2022 (KOIN)

“As you know, the most important security feature in vote-by-mail is to verify the signatures on those affidavit envelopes,” said Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey. “And everyone of those ballot envelopes that are returned by voters have to be reviewed by a trained person, trained by the Washington State Patrol, to verify the signature on the ballot envelope against the voter’s registration signature.”

If a signature doesn’t match that on a voter registration card, the voter is sent a letter, sometimes even called, to submit another signature.

Vote counting has to be finished by Tuesday, August 16.

Full statement from Jaime Herrera Beutler:

“Thank you, Southwest Washington, for entrusting me six times with the privilege of representing you in Congress. Ever since I was first elected to this seat I have done my very best to serve my home region and our country. Though my campaign came up short this time, I’m proud of all we’ve accomplished together for the place where I was raised and still call home.

“Many are things I set out to do: help folks who want to earn a living find good jobs right here, keep our rivers healthy and fishable for years to come, make our health system work better for those who really need care, allow the people here to manage and enjoy their land, and be a voice for those who have slipped between the cracks of government bureaucracy. When I took office, I said we could improve how health care works for Southwest Washington residents. I’m incredibly proud of getting the ACE Kids Act signed into law that helps more low-income kids get life-saving specialty medical care in this country, as well as legislation to tackle the maternal mortality crisis plaguing moms in America. And I’ll always enjoy my conversations in the grocery store with folks who want to chat about the landmark salmon preservation law I fought so hard for.

“Some were pleasant surprises, like growing my family by three wonderful children and in doing so, providing an example for other women that you can serve your country in elected office while raising a young family.

“And some were unexpected and difficult. But I’m proud that I always told the truth, stuck to my principles, and did what I knew to be best for our country.

“I’m incredibly grateful to you for this opportunity, and to my husband Dan for being a rock to me and our family through it all. Serving you in the United States Congress these past twelve years has been the honor of my lifetime.”