Herrera Beutler concedes after Joe Kent maintains ballot lead

The six-year-old Republican congressman was ousted in the primary by Kent, who ran to her right and criticized her vote to impeach former President Donald Trump.

VANCOUVER, Wash. – Six-year-old U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler conceded defeat Tuesday night in the race for Washington’s 3rd congressional district after a new ballot count update from last week’s primary failed to close the gap between her and far-right challenger Joe kent

“Thank you, Southwest Washington, for trusting me with the privilege of representing you in Congress six times,” she said in a statement. “Since I was first elected to this seat, I have done my best to serve my home region and our country. Although my campaign fell short this time, I’m proud of everything we’ve accomplished together for the place I grew up in and still calls home.”

Kent’s campaign said he will likely deliver a victory speech Tuesday night.

Herrera Beutler was one of 10 Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump after the Jan. 6 riot, a decision which Kent heavily criticized and cited as his main inspiration to join the race and to try to oust them.

The district’s Republican vote in the primary was split heavily between Herrera Beutler, Kent, and Heidi St. John, another challenger who ran on Herrera Beutler’s right.

RELATED: Joe Kent ahead of Jaime Herrera Beutler in race for Washington’s 3rd congressional district

Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez took the early lead with about 31% of the vote, securing first place in November’s election among Washington’s top-two primary system.

Herrera Beutler appeared on course to secure second place when the first results were released on election night, putting them around 4.4% ahead of Kent.

However, each county in the district updated the tally daily as more votes were counted and Kent’s share of the vote increased each day. Until Friday he was less than 300 votes behind Herrera Beutler, on Monday he overtook her by 960 votes.

Gluesenkamp Perez issued a statement Monday night acknowledging the reversal and criticizing Kent. She posted an abridged version of the message on Facebook.

“White nationalist extremist Joe Kent has outperformed incumbent Jaime Herrera Beutler in the late vote count and it looks like he will be our opponent in November,” she said. “That means our race in November will be a national beacon for the direction of the country and for the future of our democracy.”

RELATED: House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump face primary as polls begin to close

The last major ballot update in the race came Tuesday night, when Clark County added about 9,500 of its roughly 10,000 remaining ballots to the total and Thurston County added about 2,000 from 7,000.

Herrera Beutler won slightly, closing the gap to 928 votes, but with only a tiny percentage of the votes remaining, the deficit became virtually impossible to close. Their campaign sent out the concession statement about 20 minutes after the Clark County update was released.

The 869 vote margin also places the race outside of the area that would trigger a mandatory recount. Under Washington’s rules, the gap between the two candidates must be less than 2,000 votes and also less than half a percent of the total votes for both candidates, which would be about 490 at the time.

Herrera Beutler’s current term in Congress expires on January 3, 2023.

This is an evolving story and will be updated.

https://www.king5.com/article/news/politics/elections/herrera-beutler-concedes-kent-washington-3rd-congressional-district/283-a21b0ea0-f5e0-411c-938c-fc802a1e913d Herrera Beutler concedes after Joe Kent maintains ballot lead

Alley Einstein

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