WA Republican who supported Trump impeachment faces first serious primary challenge since taking office
Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler was reelected to Congress by a wide margin in 2020, but if new polling numbers are any indication, she could be facing a significant primary challenge from within her own party in Washington state.
Herrera Beutler — who was first elected to Congress in 2011 — made headlines in January after joining 35 of her Republican colleagues in voting to impeach then-President Donald Trump for his role in inciting the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Months later, she voted against the eventual ouster of Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney from her role as Republican conference chair in Congress. Cheney’s removal was the culmination of months of vocal opposition to Trump’s prominence within the party following the events of Jan. 6 at the Capitol.
Herrera Beutler has since faced frequent criticism from Republicans in her Congressional district, which came to a head with a formal censure from the Clark County GOP last February. Up for reelection again in 2023, she may very well face her first serious primary challenge since she first took office.
According to a polling survey from the Trafalgar Group, 30.2% of those who responded said they would vote for Herrera Beutler if a primary election was held tomorrow, while 23% voiced support for pro-Trump Republican Joe Kent, despite the fact that 43.6% of total respondents said they’d never heard of him. Another 13.3% said they would vote for Heidi St. John. Both Kent and St. John expressed at the start of their campaigns that they had decided to run after Herrera Beutler’s impeachment vote.
On his campaign website, Kent further expands on his position, stating that he is “mostly concerned that the person we elected to represent our values and make our voices heard decided to listen to deceptive and divisive media and radical left instead of standing strong for the people of Southwest Washington and the over 74 million Americans who voted for President Trump.”
Trafalgar’s survey also tracked favorability numbers for each candidate, with 35% of respondents describing Herrera Beutler as either “very favorable” or “favorable.” Fifty-nine percent said they viewed her as either “unfavorable” or “very unfavorable.” Kent was viewed as 40% favorable, with St. John at 30%.
Herrera Beutler’s most significant Republican challenger in the primaries ran in 2014, when she beat Michael Delavar by a 48.4% to 12.9% margin. Since then, no other Republican has garnered more than 6% of votes running against her.
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