U.S. Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler
U.S. Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler (Campaign photo)

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.”

U.S. Representative Jaime Herrera-Beutler with baby Isana
U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jaime Her­rera-Beut­ler tweet­ed this image of her enroute to vote with baby Isaac

“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.”

Marie Perez, candidate for Congress
Con­gres­sion­al hope­ful Marie Perez (cam­paign photo)

“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.”

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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