Brent Hennrich of Vancouver, a Democrat competing to replace U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler in Congress, announced Friday that he will withdraw from the race and endorse fellow Democrat Marie Perez.
The former candidate spent his day reaching out to his supporters and, through tearful calls, relayed his decision to end his campaign.
Hennrich, who announced his intention to challenge Herrera Beutler more than a year ago, realized the odds of pushing two Democrats to the general election was unlikely in Washington’s top-two primary.
This reality became clearer after Perez declared her candidacy in February and began to garner positive attention – indicating a drift of support between Democratic challengers.
“This is about democracy. Infighting won’t protect it,” he said in an interview with The Columbian. “(Perez) is the only viable candidate in this race, and I urge people to coalesce behind her.”
According to the Federal Election Commission, Perez raised $67,059 for her campaign in one fiscal quarter — a quicker growth rate than Hennrich’s fundraising, which began last spring and has garnered $76,973.
Although Hennrich is withdrawing from the race, he said, he will remain vocal about the issues Southwest Washingtonians face.
“I’m going to hold Marie’s feet to the fire and make sure she does her best,” he added.
Perez said she respected Hennrich’s decision, adding that political consolidation and acting without self-interest is something Congress is currently missing.
“I’m so proud that we are kicking off this race with that show of unity on the part of Democrats,” she said in an interview with The Columbian. “Having a unified party is critical right now.”
As of Friday, the list of those vying to represent Washington’s 3rd Congressional District grew to nine candidates, according to Washington’s Secretary of State.