Washington Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler, a Republican who voted to impeach former President Donald J. Trump and sharply criticized his actions ahead of the January 6, 2021 Capitol attack, admitted her first Tuesday in a packed race with a Trump-backed challenger and other 2020 election deniers.
“Thank you, Southwest Washington, for entrusting me with the privilege of representing you in Congress six times,” she said in a statement, a week after polls closed in Washington state. “Although my campaign failed this time, I’m proud of everything we’ve accomplished together for the place I grew up in and still call home.”
Marie Perez, a Democrat, and Joe Kent, the Republican backed by Trump, were the winners, The Associated Press announced Wednesday night. They will compete in November to represent Washington’s Third Congressional District, which includes the southwestern corner of the state.
Ms. Herrera Beutler is one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Mr Trump over the January 6 uprising. She is the third to lose in a primary, after South Carolina’s Tom Rice and Michigan’s Peter Meijer. Two others survived their primaries and four refused to run for new terms. The 10th, Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney, faces a primary challenge next week.
Herrera Beutler’s eight opponents included three Trump loyalists who denounced her impeachment vote: Mr. Kent, a retired Special Forces officer; Vicki Kraft, a state representative; and Heidi St. John, a Christian author and co-founder of a nonprofit homeschooling organization.
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All three have promoted false claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election.
Her Democratic opponent, Ms. Perez, owns an auto repair shop in Portland and has helped tackle rising health care costs and support workers and small businesses that characterize her campaign.
Mrs. Herrera Beutler should have been in a better political position than other Republicans who voted impeachment because she represents a purple neighborhood in a deep blue state. The primary system of Washington’s “jungle” — in which all candidates vote on the same ballot and the top two, regardless of party, advance to the general election — could also have worked in her favor by sparing her from a head-to-head contest with a Trump-aligned candidate.
Ms. Herrera Beutler was one of the most outspoken critics of Mr. Trump in the weeks following the Capitol attack. She called his actions inappropriate.
“My vote to impeach our incumbent president is not a fear-based decision,” she said before speaking. “I don’t take sides; I choose the truth. It’s the only way to beat fear.”
The resistance was as swift as it was heavy. Republican Party officials in Washington pledged to support a more conservative candidate as punishment for her impeachment vote. But Mrs. Herrera Beutler had the backing of Sam Reed, a former Republican Secretary of State from Washington, and the largest Republican donor in her district, David Nierenberg.
Before the primaries, she sought to focus on local issues and promoted legislation passed by the House to increase addiction treatment and mental health care for residents in her district.
In her statement allowing the race, Ms. Herrera Beutler said some of her achievements as a legislator were pleasant surprises, such as growing her family and setting an example for mothers in elected offices.
“And some were unexpected and difficult,” she added. “But I’m proud that I’ve always told the truth, stuck to my principles and did what I knew was best for our country.”