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Rep. Dan Newhouse, one of 10 Republican lawmakers who voted to impeach Donald Trump after the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, has advanced to the general election, surviving a challenge from ‘a candidate supported by the former president.
Newhouse advanced in Tuesday’s all-party primary in Washington’s 4th Congressional District, the Associated Press projected Friday. He will face Democrat Doug White, who was also projected by the Associated Press to advance to Friday’s general election.
Meanwhile, in the neighboring 3rd District, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R) clashed with Joe Kent, a Trump-endorsed veteran who has called those arrested in the Jan. 6 probe “political prisoners.”
Under Washington State’s nonpartisan primary system, all candidates appear on the same primary ballot, regardless of party, and the top two finishers advance to the general election. Although somewhat unique in its format, the primary in Washington state 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 retire from Congress. Reps. Tom Rice (SC) and Peter Meijer (Mich.) lost their primaries, while Rep. David G. Valadao (Calif.) survived his all-party primary.
Wyoming’s Aug. 16 primary election will decide the political fate of the group’s final congresswoman, 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 challengers in both Meijer and Valadao, and is targeting both districts in November. The national party is not focused on Washington’s 4th Congressional District, the most reliably Republican part of the state, which Trump carried in 2020 by nearly 20 points.
In that district, Newhouse faced Trump-endorsed challenger Loren Culp.
In Herrera Beutler’s 3rd District race, the candidate claiming second place in the general election will face Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, an auto repair shop owner the AP has projected to advance.
Newhouse and Herrera Beutler had outspent their opponents considerably and hoped to benefit from a field full of pro-Trump challengers. Both have lost substantial Republican support since their 2020 re-elections, when they won more than 50 percent of the all-party primary vote.
Herrera Beutler has also spoken publicly about a key phone call during the Capitol attack between Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). Trump had “initially repeated the falsehood that it was antifa that had breached the Capitol,” Herrera Beutler said McCarthy told him.
According to Herrera Beutler, after McCarthy told Trump that his supporters stormed the Capitol, Trump responded, “Well, Kevin, I guess those people are more upset about the election than you are.”
Culp, a former sheriff and gubernatorial candidate who was endorsed by Trump, predicted in an interview before the election that Newhouse would struggle to unite Republican voters. The district, he said, wanted more conservative representation than Newhouse had provided.
“Everybody I talk to is sick and tired of him,” Culp said. “Not only did he vote to impeach President Trump and vote for the January 6th commission, he’s voted for anti-gun laws, he’s voted for big government spending.”
When it came to the Herrera Beutler primary, national Democrats didn’t spend money, seeing a southwest Washington district that voted for Trump by a single-digit margin as a tough target in a middle period where the party is on the defensive. Although Herrera Beutler was regularly ahead of the GOP ticket, Kent said in an interview that the popularity of Trump and his agenda was underrated.
“No Republican voter is waking up in the morning and saying, ‘Wow, what are Kevin McCarthy and Lindsey Graham saying about the issues of the day?’ Kent said. “They’re looking for the ‘America First’ message coming from Trump, from Matt Gaetz, from Marjorie Taylor Greene,” he added, naming some far-right members of Congress who have become polarized.
In an interview, Perez said he could win the seat in a runoff against Kent, whom he called a “classic package of big hair and bad ideas.”