Election fraud narrative becomes common thread among candidates looking to unseat WA Republicans
Republican Representatives Jaime Herrera Beutler and Dan Newhouse are both facing primary challengers, with common threads beginning to emerge among the candidates seeking to unseat them.
The two incumbents have faced criticism from within their party for voting in favor of impeaching then-President Donald Trump following the events of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Herrera Beutler was also formally censured by the Clark County GOP last February and, for her, the field of Republican challengers continued to grow last week after state Rep. Vicki Kraft threw her hat into the ring.
Rep. Kraft has served in the state House since 2017, but under newly-approved legislative maps, her district has been drawn out, effectively putting her out of a job once the maps take effect. She saw the state’s redistricting as a sign that it was time to move on to something new.
“When the redistricting commission put out their plans, that was really the final confirmation that it took,” she told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.
Kraft joins a crowded field of Republicans in the primary, which includes Heidi St. John and Joe Kent. Both St. John and Kent expressed at the start of their campaigns that they had decided to run after Herrera Beutler’s vote to impeach then-President Trump following the events of the Jan. 6 riot.
Kraft is similarly critical of the incumbent Republican Congresswoman, labeling her impeachment vote an “unfortunate decision.” She has also been vocal in her support for Trump’s frequent claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election, having recently joined a coalition of 186 Republicans across 39 states in calling for a full 50-state ballot audit. Kraft was one of three Washington state lawmakers who signed on to a letter from the coalition asking states to decertify their electors from 2020.
Rep. Newhouse faces at least three primary challengers of his own in former gubernatorial candidate Loren Culp, state Rep. Brad Klippert, and Navy veteran Jerrod Sessler.
Culp has repeatedly maintained his belief that the 2020 election was fraudulent, refusing for weeks to concede defeat to eventual gubernatorial winner Jay Inslee. He then filed a lawsuit demanding an audit of Washington state’s paper ballots and vote counting machines, before abruptly withdrawing it less than a month later.
Meanwhile, Klippert has stated that he has a “reasonable suspicion” that there was widespread voter fraud in the 2020, going so far as to propose Washington do away with its vote-by-mail system entirely. He is also among the coalition of Republicans –along with Kraft — pushing for a nationwide ballot audit.
Sessler has echoed those claims as well, having attended Mike Lindell’s three-day “Cyber Symposium” on election fraud. He’s also been endorsed by Arizona State Senator Wendy Rogers, who has been one of Trump’s most stalwart supporters in challenging the validity of the 2020 election.
Sessler has gone so far as to criticize both Culp and Klippert for not supporting the fraud narrative strongly enough, describing Culp’s election challenges as “lukewarm attempts towards establishing a better election system.”