Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, is holding on to her fundraising lead in her bid for a seventh term serving Washington’s 3rd Congressional District.
The incumbent congresswoman brought in $463,050 between April and June of this year, according to data submitted to the Federal Elections Commission on Thursday. Combined with a record-breaking first quarter powered by her impeachment vote, her second quarter fundraising efforts bring her total receipts to $1.24 million and her cash-on-hand to $1.03 million.
“Jaime is focused on protecting Columbia River salmon, helping small businesses get back on their feet, making sure the feds are doing everything possible to combat wildfires, and giving law enforcement the support and tools they need to keep our communities safe,” her campaign spokesman, Parker Truax, wrote in an email. “This fundraising report demonstrates she’ll have all the resources necessary to share that record with voters.”
Close behind was Republican challenger Joe Kent, who’s been making the rounds on right-leaning national media outlets — “Fox Nation,” “Tucker Carlson Today,” NewsMax, Steve Bannon’s War Room podcast — for the past few months. Kent’s quarterly receipts were just shy of Herrera Beutler’s, bringing in $366,247.
Kent’s total receipts over the course of the 2022 election cycle amount to $635,623, supplemented by a $205,000 personal loan to his own campaign last winter. His cash-on-hand as of June 30 was $512,151.
Campaign Manager Byron Sanford called Kent “clearly the only alternative” to Herrera Beutler.
“None of the other GOP challengers to Jaime raised even half of what Joe Kent raised in Q2,” Sanford said.
Heidi St. John, another Republican challenger for the seat, trailed the two frontrunners last quarter with $148,694 in new donations. To date, she’s brought in $279,571 this election cycle and currently has $221,781 on-hand.
“I am honored and grateful that my message of country, family and traditional values is resonating with so many voters in the 3rd Congressional District of Washington and America First supporters throughout our nation,” St. John said in a media release. “This is everyone’s fight and every donation brings us closer to our goal of reclaiming our nation, our state and our community from those who seek to destroy all we hold dear.”
Brent Hennrich, a Democrat, trailed behind with $10,040 in new donations last quarter. In a text, he told The Columbian that he’s suffering from a lack of media coverage. However, Hennrich outraised a fourth Republican in the race, Wadi Yakhour, who brought in $1,860 last quarter after originally kicking off his campaign with a $25,000 personal loan.
Democrat Lucy Lauser raised $60 last spring, bringing her total receipts up to $314. Matthew Overton, a Republican who filed a campaign with the FEC in May, did not report any receipts or expenditures.
Both Kent’s and Yakhour’s campaigns owe their initial loan back to the candidate. Herrera Beutler’s campaign currently owes $59,544 for various consulting, sign-making and employee work.
Focus on the primary
The sheer amount of money flowing into Southwest Washington for the congressional race — typically unheard of, more than a year ahead of its next election — is indicative of a broader shift in the political tide.
As of now, the main race to watch isn’t the general election but the primary. Republicans who remain loyal to former President Donald Trump are seizing on Herrera Beutler’s vote to impeach him following the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
At the time, her vote correlated with an enormous boost in the congresswoman’s fundraising. In the first three months of 2021 she brought in $744,754, more than the first quarter of her last five campaigns combined.
But some local Republicans, including the formal party organizations in Clark and Cowlitz counties, are looking to defeat her in the 2022 primary and replace her with a further-right leaning candidate like Kent, St. John or Yakhour.
The outcome of that primary will also dictate the dynamics in the general election; in a race lacking a center-leaning incumbent with name recognition, any Democrat that makes it into the top two will be able to paint a stronger contrast with their opponent and potentially win some independents centrists that would have otherwise gone with Herrera Beutler.