PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – In a local political primary gaining national attention with former President Donald Trump weighing in, incumbent Jamie Herrera Beutler conceded to Republican Joe Kent on Tuesday.
Now, Kent will face off with Marie Gluesenkamp Perez in November for Washington’s 3rd Congressional District.
KOIN 6 News talked to The Hill national political reporter Julia Manchester, who says this is a surprise given that Congresswoman Herrera Beutler was ahead and that she was a six-term incumbent.
Kent is backed by former President Trump, whereas Herrera Beutler voted to impeach Trump.
Trump released a statement saying in part, “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.”
KOIN 6 News asked Manchester about Trump’s influence on this local election.
“I think her decision to impeach played a huge role, I think it was the nail in the coffin … Joe Kent, his name was elevated because he had a former president of the United States talking about him,” Manchester explained.
In her concession statement, Herrera Beutler said “I’m proud that I always told the truth, stuck to my principles, and did what I knew to be best for our country.”
On Wednesday, Kent said in a statement that “now is the time to unite as Republicans because the stakes have never been higher. The far left is moving at breakneck speed to radically change our country.”
Perez told KOIN 6 in an interview Tuesday night, “we can’t win this race without the support of moderates on both parties.”
Manchester also pointed out that Herrera Beutler is considered by many to be a moderate Republican.
KOIN 6 News asked Manchester how much she thinks this race speaks to changing politics in the U.S. and if we’re headed to an even more polarized time.
Manchester explained “I think we are, and I think we’re already in that time. But, it seems like this polarization is highlighted in the primaries… that’s whether you’re in a left-leaning district or right-leaning district you’re seeing that.”
Manchester also noted the latest Cook Political Report points to the upcoming race between Kent and Perez as being more of a toss-up.