Meanwhile, in neighboring District 3, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (right) was in a tight race with Joe Kent, a Trump-backed veteran who has called people arrested in the Jan. 6 investigation “political prisoners.”
Under Washington State’s nonpartisan primary system, all candidates are listed on the same primary ballot, regardless of party, with the top two finishers advancing to the general election. Though somewhat unique in its format, the Washington state primary served as the latest test of the ability of Republicans who have opposed Trump to survive his efforts to unseat them.
Of the other Republican lawmakers who voted to impeach Trump, four announced they would withdraw from Congress. Reps. Tom Rice (SC) and Peter Meijer (Michigan) lost their primaries, while Rep. David G. Valadao (Calif.) survived his all-party primary.
The Aug. 16 primary election in Wyoming will decide the political fate of the group’s last lawmaker, Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyoming), who is vice chair of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had spent money to help conservative contenders for both Meijer and Valadao, and will target both districts in November. The national party is not focused on Washington’s 4th congressional district, the most reliable Republican part of the state, which Trump carried in 2020 by nearly 20 points.
In that district, Newhouse faced Trump-backed challenger Loren Culp.
In the race for Herrera Beutler’s third district, the candidate claiming second place in the general election will face Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez, an auto repair shop owner whom the AP has projected advancing.
Newhouse and Herrera Beutler had outspent their opponents considerably and hoped to benefit from a field packed with pro-Trump challengers. Both have lost substantial Republican support since their 2020 reelections, when they won more than 50 percent of the vote in all-party primaries.
Herrera Beutler has also spoken publicly about a key phone call during the attack on Capitol Hill between Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). Trump “initially repeated the falsehood that it was Antifa who stormed the Capitol,” Herrera Beutler said McCarthy told him.
According to Herrera Beutler, after McCarthy told Trump that it was his supporters storming the Capitol, Trump replied, “Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.”
Culp, a former sheriff and Trump-endorsed gubernatorial candidate, predicted in an interview before the election that Newhouse would have a hard time rallying Republican voters. The district, he said, wanted more conservative representation than Newhouse had provided.
“Everyone I talk to is sick and tired of him,” Culp said. “Not only did he vote to impeach President Trump and he voted for the January 6 commission, but he voted for anti-gun laws, he voted for big government spending.”
When it comes to the Herrera Beutler primary, national Democrats spent no money and saw a southwestern Washington district that voted for Trump by a single-digit margin as a tough target in an interim period in which the party is On the defensive. While Herrera Beutler regularly ran ahead of the Republican ticket, Kent said in an interview that Trump’s popularity and his agenda were underestimated.
“No Republican voter wakes up in the morning and says, ‘God, what are Kevin McCarthy and Lindsey Graham saying about the issues of the day?’ Kent said. “They’re looking for the ‘America First’ message that’s coming from Trump, from Matt Gaetz, from Marjorie Taylor Greene,” she added, naming some far-right members of Congress who have been polarizing.
In an interview, Perez said the seat could be won in a race against Kent, whom he called a “classic package of great hair and bad ideas.”