By RACHEL LA CORTE
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Republican Joe Kent, who challenged incumbent Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler over her vote to impeach former President Donald Trump, has taken a narrow lead in the race for the second spot in Washington state’s top two primary.
Under the state’s primary system, all candidates run on the same ballot, and the top two vote getters advance to the November election, regardless of party.
Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez had already advanced to the November ballot since she was the top vote getter after the Aug. 2 primary, with 31% of the vote. Herrera Beutler, who had about 24% on Election Night, dropped to just over 22% by Monday, and was trailing Kent – a former Green Beret endorsed by Trump who surged in late returns and had nearly 23% of the vote— by 960 votes.
A mandatory recount would occur if the margin of votes between the No. 2 and No. 3 candidates is less than half of 1% and closer than 2,000 votes.
An estimated 10,000 votes are left to count in Clark County, the district’s largest, and another update won’t occur until Tuesday afternoon. Several hundred votes remain to be counted in the district’s other counties, but counties have until Aug. 16 to finish their count and for canvassing boards to certify the results, followed by certification by the secretary of state by Aug. 19.
Because Washington is a vote-by-mail state and ballots just need to be in by Election Day, it often takes days to learn final results in close races as ballots arrive at county election offices throughout the week.
Of the 10 House Republicans who voted for Trump’s impeachment, four opted not to run for reelection. Michigan Rep. Peter Meijer was defeated in a primary Tuesday by Trump-endorsed John Gibbs and Rep. Tom Rice of South Carolina lost to a Trump-endorsed challenger in June. Rep. David Valadao of California — which has an open primary like Washington — survived a primary challenge. Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming is bracing for defeat in her Aug. 16 primary against a Trump-backed rival.
Washington Rep. Dan Newhouse advanced to the general election in his Washington state primary last week, fending off a Trump-endorsed rival, and will appear on the November ballot with Democratic opponent Doug White.