NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate provides the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, August 8th, 2022

Trump-endorsed Joe Kent overtakes Jaime Herrera Beutler for second place in WA-03

Unit­ed States Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler’s reelec­tion bid may soon be at an end. Today, her ultra MAGA, Trump-endorsed Repub­li­can chal­lenger Joe Kent surged into sec­ond place after anoth­er favor­able bal­lot drop, tak­ing a lead of 813 votes fol­low­ing the tab­u­la­tion of a fifth round of bal­lots by Clark Coun­ty Elec­tions and the oth­er coun­ties in the 3rd Con­gres­sion­al District.

In first place is Demo­c­ra­t­ic chal­lenger Marie Perez, who got the back­ing of most of the dis­tric­t’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic vot­ers. Perez looks secure in that first place spot, and will be going on to the gen­er­al elec­tion. But Her­rera Beut­ler’s grip on sec­ond place has been steadi­ly shrink­ing as the bal­lot count­ing has gone on.

On Elec­tion Night, there was a sig­nif­i­cant gap between Her­rera Beut­ler and Kent, which left many pun­dits and observers won­der­ing if Her­rera Beut­ler had escaped the clutch­es of Trump and his increas­ing­ly rabid, mil­i­tant, extreme base in the Repub­li­can Par­ty. But unfor­tu­nate­ly for Her­rera Beut­ler, her lead for sec­ond place has dis­ap­peared. Worse, Ken­t’s momen­tum has car­ried him to a lead he prob­a­bly isn’t going to be relin­quish­ing. That means it’s cur­tains for Her­rera Beutler.

On Elec­tion Night, Her­rera Beut­ler had 24.48% of the vote, while Kent had 20.11%. Oth­er Repub­li­can chal­lengers, like Hei­di St. John and Vic­ki Kraft, were fur­ther back, and remain so. Today, Her­rera Beut­ler has 22.35% of the vote, while Kent has 22.74%. Perez is, as men­tioned, ahead of both at 30.99%.

The last few counts indi­cate that a lot of the Trump faith­ful sim­ply wait­ed until Elec­tion Day to return their bal­lots. Wash­ing­ton is a vote-at-home state, with no polling places (just acces­si­ble vot­ing cen­ters for those who need them), but the state has long allowed vot­ers to vote on Elec­tion Day, even through the mail.

The rules are sim­ple: as long as your bal­lot is in a drop box by 8 PM or post­marked no lat­er than Elec­tion Day, it will be counted.

(Amer­i­ca’s oth­er vote at home pio­neer, our great Pacif­ic North­west state of Ore­gon, used to require that bal­lots actu­al­ly be received by 8 PM on Elec­tion Day, but Ore­gon has now adopt­ed the sys­tem long used in Wash­ing­ton State.)

On Fri­day evening, Clark Coun­ty (the pop­u­la­tion cen­ter of the dis­trict) report­ed it had 30,000 bal­lots remain­ing to be processed. After today’s count, that num­ber is down to 10,000. Thurston Coun­ty also has 10,000 bal­lots await­ing pro­cess­ing, but most of those are like­ly from out­side of the 3rd. Lewis has 90 bal­lots await­ing pro­cess­ing, Cowlitz 480, Wahki­akum 20, Pacif­ic 75, and Ska­ma­nia 14. The small­er coun­ties are not plan­ning any more counts until Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion Day next week.

Her­rera Beut­ler would need to arrest and reverse Ken­t’s momen­tum in the late bal­lots in order to regain sec­ond place. That seems improb­a­ble at this point, giv­en the trend. While Her­rera Beut­ler’s col­league Dan New­house looks set to go on to the gen­er­al elec­tion in the neigh­bor­ing 4th Dis­trict, she is now fac­ing defeat and the end of her ser­vice in the Unit­ed States House of Representatives.

Democ­rats could respond by giv­ing the 3rd the DCC­C’s “Red to Blue” des­ig­na­tion, to help Perez, who is a small busi­ness own­er, raise the funds need­ed to mount the most vig­or­ous cam­paign pos­si­ble in the gen­er­al elec­tion against Kent.

The Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty has been focused on pick­ing up Ore­gon’s new 6th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict and defend­ing the seats now held by Kurt Schrad­er (who lost renom­i­na­tion to Jamie McLeod-Skin­ner) and Kim Schri­er (who is on her way to the gen­er­al elec­tion with Repub­li­can Matt Larkin as her like­ly oppo­nent), but Her­rera Beut­ler’s pend­ing ouster makes this a con­test for an open seat.

Those dynam­ics will alter how the race is per­ceived and scored in the Oth­er Wash­ing­ton and around the coun­try. Aside from per­haps Russ Fulcher of Ida­ho, there is no one in the Pacif­ic North­west­’s con­gres­sion­al del­e­ga­tion who is as extreme as Joe Kent is and would be in Con­gress. How­ev­er you want to define “ultra MAGA,” Joe Kent prob­a­bly fits the def­i­n­i­tion. Kent wants to become our region’s ver­sion of Lau­ren Boe­bert or Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene.

Kent has already vio­lat­ed fed­er­al law dur­ing the course of his cam­paign.

Perez is stand­ing in his way, but she’ll need all the sup­port she can get to defeat him and ensure that Wash­ing­ton’s 3rd does­n’t become a dis­trict rep­re­sent­ed by some­body who is an ene­my of the Con­sti­tu­tion of the Unit­ed States.

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  1. […] 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 […]

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