Republican Joe Kent took a 960-vote lead over Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler in ballot returns on Monday, placing him in a likelier spot to advance to the general election for Washington’s 3rd Congressional District.
On Monday evening, Kent had 47,623 votes, or 22.79 percent of the 208,993 votes tallied to date. Herrera Beutler had 46,663 votes, or 22.33 percent of the total. Herrera Beutler led on election night, but Kent has steadily gained ground as more ballots were tallied. On Friday evening, Kent had nearly closed the margin between himself and the incumbent, leaving 257 votes between the two hopefuls for the position.
“We’re going to watch the vote count for one more day before making any declarative statements,” said Craig Wheeler, Herrera Beutler’s campaign manager.
Both Republican candidates are vying for the second position on the November ballot to face Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez of Skamania. She showed an early lead against the main players and currently has 30.97 percent of the vote. Perez is the most popular candidate in Clark, Pacific and Skamania counties.
Herrera Beutler is up by 303 votes in Cowlitz County, which was previously held by Perez on Thursday. Kent is leading in Thurston and Lewis counties.
There are about 10,000 votes left to count in Clark County, the most populous county in the district. Voter turnout jumped to 40.79 percent as of Monday evening. Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey said the remaining ballots should be counted by Tuesday.
Clark County expects to provide an update at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, followed by Thurston County at 5 p.m. Cowlitz County will next update at 5 p.m. Wednesday. Lewis County’s next ballot count will be on Aug. 15 and Skamania, Pacific and Wahkiakum counties are set for Aug. 16, when the election results will be certified.
Results are subject to a machine recount if the difference is less than 2,000 votes and less than .5 percent of total votes for both candidates. A manual recount will occur if the difference is less than 150 votes and less than a quarter of a percent of the total votes cast.