United States Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler is out.
The multi-term incumbent acknowledged this evening that she has been ousted by the Republican voters of Washington State’s 3rd Congressional District for insufficient loyalty to Republican Party boss Donald Trump, who Herrera Beutler nobly defied in January of 2021 when she rightly voted for impeachment.
Herrera Beutler, forty-three, fell behind Trump’s endorsed challenger Joe Kent in yesterday’s count. She slipped even further behind today, with her deficit increasing from eight hundred and thirteen votes to eight hundred and sixty-nine.
Although Kent only improved his advantage by a little, there aren’t outstanding enough ballots left for Herrera Beutler to turn things around.
Clark County, the 3rd’s population center, is down to just 500 ballots awaiting processing, while Cowlitz has 480. Thurston has 7,000 ballots still to process, but most of those are from precincts not in the 3rd. The district’s other counties collectively only have a few dozen ballots left to process.
Herrera Beutler was initially elected to represent the 3rd in the 2010 midterms, after Democratic incumbent Brian Baird declined to seek another term, defeating Denny Heck, who then ran in the new 10th District the following cycle, and won. (Heck served several terms, retired, and is now the state’s Lieutenant Governor.)
Herrera Beutler secured reelection in 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018, and 2020, though not always with the ease of other incumbents in Washington State. She has a history of performing poorly (for an incumbent) in the Top Two round, though never as poorly as this year. Owing to her vote for Trump’s impeachment and other laudable votes for the good of the country, many Republicans turned on her.
The result was the shameful elevation of Joe Kent, a militant extremist who would be a Pacific Northwest version of Lauren Boebert or Marjorie Taylor Greene.
Kent was able to move into second place despite vote-splitting among the larger pro-Trump faction of the 3rd’s right wing electorate and despite the attack ads launched against him knocking him as a Bernie Sanders supporting socialist.
Though it seemed to many that Herrera Beutler had enough runway to pull off a victory on Election Night a week ago, Kent began whittling her lead down right away. By Friday, Herrera Beutler’s lead was tenuous. As of yesterday afternoon, it was gone and Kent was ahead. Today, Kent locked in his advantage.
Herrera Beutler’s concession statement
“Thank you, Southwest Washington, for entrusting me six times with the privilege of representing you in Congress,” said Herrera Beutler. “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 | 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.”
Marie Perez’s response
“White Nationalist and extremist Joe Kent has now pulled ahead of incumbent Jaime Herrera Beutler in the late vote counts, and it appears he will be our opponent in November,” said Democratic hopeful Marie Perez yesterday. Perez is the top vote getter in this round and has the support of the Democratic Party.
“This means that our race in November is going to be a national bellwether for the direction of the country, and for the future of our democracy. This November, the voters of Southwest Washington are going to have to make a choice. Do we want to double down on the hyperpartisan extremism, the falsehoods and conspiracy theories, the attacks on our democracy and our elections, the divisiveness and the dysfunction that is paralyzing the Other Washington and tearing our country apart? Because that is what Joe Kent represents.”
“Or can we come together to demand positive change, to find common ground, and to elect a representative focused on solving problems and building a better future for us all? Because that is what my campaign is about.”
“As a auto repair shop owner, a small business owner, a mom, and a rural resident of our district, I know that a lot of folks around here are frustrated and looking for change. We need solutions to lower the costs of gas and groceries, and we need a fair playing field. We’ve had enough of an economy that caters more to corporations and wealthy elites over working families.”
“We want a real opportunity to attain the American Dream. If I am your representative, my commitment is to work every day to make that happen. I pledge to put the interests of our district ahead of anything else, including my party.”
“Joe Kent is the opposite. He seeks to divide us, and if elected, he will be a danger to our democracy and an embarrassment to our district. He sees conspiracies everywhere. He spreads the lie that the 2020 election was stolen and still attacks Republicans and non-partisan election officials who say there is no evidence Trump won. He was even a co-plaintiff in frivolous election fraud lawsuits here in Washington State. Just earlier today he went on Steve Bannon’s podcast to cast doubts on the legitimacy of this election.”
“Does he still think it is fraudulent now that he’s winning?”
“Furthermore, he has a track record of making extreme statements, and spreading ugly racially charged claims. His unapologetic extremism and divisive approach demonstrate he is unfit for public office.”
“So I say to all voters across the political spectrum, democrats, independents and Republicans, I say the following: please consider joining our campaign. I will welcome your support. I won’t tag you with disparaging labels or write you off because we may not agree 100 percent on every issue, the way Joe Kent will. Instead, I will listen, I will be honest and accessible, and I will deliver real results on the issues we all care about.”
“With your backing we can reject extremism and support the common good. I look forward to earning you support over the next few months.”