Friday, February 3, 2023
Feb. 3, 2023

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GOP incumbents take strong leads to return to Congress from Central, Eastern Washington

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KENNEWICK — Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., had the lead after the first vote count Tuesday night to retain his seat in Congress against Democrat challenger Doug White.

Newhouse received 82,445 votes or 67% of the votes counted Tuesday and White received 37,859 or 31%.

The Congressional district stretches across eight counties and Newhouse had a strong lead in all of them.

In Benton County Newhouse had 68% of the vote and in Franklin County he had 70% of the vote. The most populous county of the district, Yakima, gave Newhouse 65%.

If initial results hold, this will be Newhouse’s fifth term representing Washington state’s 4th Congressional District, considered the most Republican of Washington’s Congressional districts.

A Democrat has not been elected in the district since now Gov. Jay Inslee was selected by voters in 1992, only to be bested by Republican Rep. Doc Hastings in the next election. Hastings would serve for 20 years before Newhouse was elected.

Newhouse was one of 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach then President Donald Trump after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, and one of just two on the ballot for re-election for another term.

He told the Tri-City Herald editorial board he knew he was risking his political career, but stands by his vote to impeach.

Four House Republicans who voted to impeach retired and four were ousted in the primary, including Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, a reliable supporter of Hanford site budgets. She represents the 3rd District downriver from the nuclear reservation.

The other Republican up for election who voted for impeachment was Rep. David Valadao, of California’s 22st District.

Some Republicans said they would not vote for Newhouse because of his stand on impeachment.

He survived a primary election with nearly 26% of the vote, as the Republican vote was divided seven ways and many of his challengers saying that it was Newhouse’s vote to impeach that prompted them to run for his position.

White received just over 25% of the vote in the primary.

Newhouse, White on the issues

Newhouse has the respect of his fellow House Republicans, as shown by his chairmanship of the Congressional Western Caucus. Its 70 Republican members of Congress focus on issues facing rural America, such as water, agriculture, local control, private property rights and energy.

Newhouse has worked to increase environmental cleanup budgets for the Hanford nuclear reservation site and has fought to protect the lower Snake River dams and the hydropower they supply.

He’s a third-generation Yakima Valley farmer, and among the legislation he has worked on is prohibiting the Chinese Communist Party from purchasing any more American farmland.

Newhouse said he is proud of the work he’s done on the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which would provide undocumented farm workers and their family members a path toward citizenship.

White, who comes from a fourth-generation farm family in Yakima owns a small business that delivers locally grown meals to families in Yakima.

He told the Herald editorial board that the Farm Workforce Modernization Act Newhouse touted is the “most shameful thing this country could possibly do.” It would require people to come back to labor in farm fields and orchards for 14 years before they would be considered for citizenship, he said.

In addition to his Central Washington farming experience, White has worked in Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong, managing one project with 4,000 employees. His international work helped him find common ground to bring projects to completion.

Sometimes called a conservative Democrat, he wants to stop the politics of division, he said. His goal is to bring all people together to get things done, he said.

Congressional District 5

Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., appears in place to return to Congress, where she has served as a representative since 2005.

She had received 107,971 votes, or 59% of the vote, with 11 of 12 counties in District 5 reporting as of 9 p.m.

Walla Walla County had yet to report vote counts then.

Her challenger, Natasha Hill, had 74,839 votes or 41%.

The district covers the eastern third of Washington state.

McMorris Rodgers has served as the lead Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and says she has made the nation’s energy independence a priority.

Hill, a Spokane Democrat, is an attorney and adjunct law professor at Gonzaga Law School.

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