State Rep. Vicki Kraft, R-Vancouver, announced Tuesday that she is running for Washington’s 3rd Congressional District — adding to the number of Republican candidates for the seat.
She announced her intent during a Clark County Republican Party meeting.
The race to unseat incumbent Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, already involves conservative challengers Heidi St. John, R-Vancouver, and Joe Kent, R-Yacolt. Both candidates have been in the public eye for nearly a year, and Kraft’s announcement comes less than a year before the general election.
Herrera Beutler plans on continuing her 10-year position in Congress. However, she has been criticized by fellow conservatives after voting to impeach former President Donald Trump for inciting the Capitol riots on Jan. 6. She remains in the lead for campaign financial totals, having raised more than $1.7 million.
Herrera Beutler was unavailable for a comment.
Byron Sanford, Kent’s campaign manager, wrote that another Republican candidate entering the race distracts from unseating Herrera Beutler.
“It is imperative that we consolidate around one candidate to keep the 3rd District Republican,” he wrote in a statement.
St. John was unavailable for a comment.
Since 2016, Kraft has served as a representative for Washington’s 17th Legislative District, where she had the most conservative voting record in the state’s House of Representatives. Due to updated maps following the 2020 Census, she could get drawn out of her district.
During her legislative career, Kraft has introduced bills to help disabled veterans find adaptive housing, provide educational scholarships for private and homeschool students, and aid small-business growth. She also initiated a bipartisan caucus in 2017 to address sex trafficking.
Recently, Kraft has pushed for legislation that would allow individuals to refuse a COVID-19 vaccine, as well as reject other related mandates. Similarly, she promoted a bill that would limit the governor’s emergency powers in enacting COVID-19 precautions.
Following President Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election, Kraft was among many Trump supporters to claim the results were fraudulent. She propagated conspiracy theories relating to the event and requested a further investigation on its results.
Kraft was unavailable for comment.