Trump-Endorsed Joe Kent Defeats Pro-Impeachment Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler in Primary

After over a week of counting the votes, another of the ten pro-impeachment Republicans in the House of Representatives has lost their primary to a challenger backed by President Donald Trump.

Fox News reports that Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) conceded the race to former Green Beret Joe Kent on Tuesday, with a lengthy statement defending her record in office. Beutler was first elected to Washington’s 3rd congressional district in 2010.

“Ever since I was first elected to this seat I have done my very best to serve my home region and our country,” said Beutler. “Though my campaign came up short this time, I’m proud of all we’ve accomplished together for the place where I was raised and still call home.” Beutler notably expressed no regret over her decision to vote in favor of the second impeachment of President Trump, the issue which ultimately sank her campaign.

In the blanket primary, where the top two candidates advance to the general election regardless of party, it was Kent who received the 45th president’s endorsement. With 99 percent reporting in according to NBC News, Kent leads Beutler by 1059 votes, a margin of 0.5 percent, and is in second place behind the sole Democrat in the race, Marie Perez. In the week following the initial primary election last Tuesday, Kent’s bid to oust Beutler appeared to be in danger of being spoiled by fellow Republican candidates Heidi St. John and Vicki Kraft, before the vote count update on Monday finally put him over the top.

Kent has been a vocal supporter of President Trump and the America First movement, including calls for strict immigration laws and combating voter fraud in the aftermath of the 2020 election. Kent’s campaign was also endorsed by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, as well as Congressmen Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.). With the district being an R+5 seat, Kent is the overwhelming favorite to win the general election.

Beutler’s loss makes her now the seventh pro-impeachment Republican who will not be returning to Congress in January of 2023. Of the ten who voted in favor of President Trump’s second impeachment, four announced their retirements: John Katko (R-N.Y.), Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio), and Fred Upton (R-Mich.). Of the remaining six, three have been defeated in their primaries: Tom Rice (R-S.C.), Peter Meijer (R-Mich.), and Beutler.

Only two thus far have survived their primaries: David Valadao (R-Calif.), who was noticeably the only pro-impeachment Republican to not have a challenger endorsed by President Trump, and Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.); although Newhouse did have a Trump-endorsed challenger, former police chief and 2020 gubernatorial nominee Loren Culp, there were five other Republicans who ran in the primary, which ultimately spoiled Culp’s chances of defeating Newhouse.

In both races, the total number of combined votes cast for anti-incumbent Republicans outnumbered the vote totals received by the incumbents themselves; the combined vote totals for Valadao’s two opponents was 29.2 percent to Valadao’s 25.6, and the six Republicans who ran against Newhouse combined received roughly 49 percent of the primary vote to Newhouse’s 25.5 percent. While Newhouse is widely expected to win re-election in his R+11 district, Valadao faces a difficult general election campaign against popular Democrat Assemblyman Rudy Salas, who could defeat him in the D+5 seat due in large part to Valadao’s decline in support among the Republican base.

The sole remaining pro-impeachment Republican is Liz Cheney, former Chair of the House Republican Conference, who has been unapologetic in her ongoing criticisms of President Trump in the aftermath of the peaceful protests at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, and is one of only two Republicans serving on the controversial January 6th committee, alongside Kinzinger. Her primary in Wyoming’s at-large congressional district will be on Tuesday, where she is widely expected to lose to Trump-backed challenger Harriet Hageman.

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About Eric Lendrum

Eric Lendrum graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was the Secretary of the College Republicans and the founding chairman of the school’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter. He has interned for Young America’s Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, and the White House, and has worked for numerous campaigns including the 2018 re-election of Congressman Devin Nunes (CA-22). He is currently a co-host of The Right Take podcast.

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