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Tags: donald trump | impeachment | washington state | jungle primary | jaime herrera beutler | joe kent

How One Trumpster Won House Primary in Washington State and Another Lost

jaime herrera beutler gestures while speaking
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler becoming the 7th of 10 House Republicans who voted for former President Donald Trump's impeachment going down to defeat in Washington State's unique "jungle primary." (Al Drago/Getty Images)

John Gizzi By Thursday, 11 August 2022 06:55 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

One week after vote-counting began in Washington State's unique "jungle primary" with all votes cast by mail, the count in the 3rd District showed Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler becoming the 7th of 10 House Republicans who voted for former President Donald Trump's impeachment going down to defeat.

With nearly 200,000 votes cast in the primary in which the one-two finishers advance to the November election, Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez topped the field with 31.8% of the vote and will face second-place finisher and Trump-endorsed Republican Joe Kent (22.8%) in the fall. With 22.3%, six-termer Beutler placed third and was thus eliminated from the race. She conceded defeat Tuesday.

In the 4th District, however, the outcome was quite different. Rep. Dan Newhouse, another House Republican who supported impeachment, actually topped the field (27%) and will face Democrat Doug White (26%) in the fall. Newhouse's fellow Republican Loren Culp, retired police chief of Republic (WA) who carried Trump's endorsement, came in third (22%).

As pundits and pols pondered how one pro-impeachment Republican could go down and another could emerge on top in the same state, several Evergreen State Republicans offered Newsmax their explanations.

"To get right to the point, Joe Kent was a very good candidate who ran a good campaign, and Loren Culp was not a good candidate and did not run a good campaign," former State GOP Chairman Kirby Wilbur said. "And in Clark County, which has the bulk of the voters in the 3rd, there has always been a fractious Republican Party. A group in the party has always felt Jaime was not as conservative as she could be, and the impeachment vote was the last straw for them."

With a lifetime rating of 64.98 from the American Conservative Union, Herrera Beutler is one of the more conservative Republicans representing Washington State in Congress. But the faction Wilbur referred to — one associated with the presidential candidacy of Ron Paul in 2012—in Clark County, coupled with a strong cadre of conservative volunteers from neighboring Lewis County was enough to fuel Kent's insurgent bid.

"Joe Kent was Nick Fury when he was a sergeant leading the Howling Commandos and before he took over as head of [intelligence agency] SHIELD," is how one wag characterized the 3rd District challenger, invoking the venerable Marvel Comics hero.

A former Special Forces officer (Green Beret), Kent served 11 combat tours from North Africa to Iraq and earned 6 Bronze Stars. After retirement from the army, he worked for the CIA. Last year, he settled in the 3rd District with the intention of challenging Herrera Beutler.

Kent also had a highly moving personal story: wife Shannon, a Navy cryptologist, was killed in Syria during a suicide bombing in Syria that took the lives of 18 people and which ISIS took credit for. While awaiting his wife's remains at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, Kent met then-President Trump (who wanted to meet the families of the victims of the bombing) and told him "the establishment is working against you."

"Joe had a heroic background and a moving personal story as a Gold Star husband that motivated people," radio talk show host John Carlson, the 2000 GOP nominee for governor, told Newsmax. "In contrast, Loren Culp came across as a grumpy guy."

Newhouse's stronger political position was also due, Carlson explained, to the familiarity of his name and to the way he dealt with his impeachment vote. Newhouse was the son of the late Irving Newhouse, a state legislator for 34 years after whom the state senate building in Olympia is named.

"And Dan just cast his vote to impeach, put out a press release explaining why, and almost never brought it up again," said Carlson. "Jaime hugged [Illinois' pro-impeachment Rep. Adam] Kinzinger on the day of the impeachment vote, and that picture really upset Trump backers here."

Newhouse is a strong favorite to win again. Kent will have a highly competitive contest with Perez but, as supporters point out, he might well have led the field in the 3rd had fourth-place finisher (16%) and fellow Trump Republican Heidi St. John dropped out and endorsed him.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


John-Gizzi
The count in the 3rd District in Washington State's unique "jungle primary" showed Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler becoming the 7th of 10 House Republicans who voted for former President Donald Trump's impeachment going down to defeat.
donald trump, impeachment, washington state, jungle primary, jaime herrera beutler, joe kent
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2022-55-11
Thursday, 11 August 2022 06:55 AM
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