The first quarterly filings for Washington’s Third Congressional District race are in, and incumbent Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler has a strong fundraising lead among five challengers, three of whom hail from her own party.
The candidate filings released earlier this month show Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, raised close to $745,000 from January through March, according to Federal Elections Commission (FEC) data. That total is nearly $500,000 more than her next closest competitor and more than all five of her challengers combined.
Herrera Beutler’s first quarterly total also eclipses the money she raised for the first filing during the 2020 election cycle. From January through March 2019 she raised close to $288,000, according to FEC data.
“(Herrera Beutler’s) experienced a huge influx of support from people who cited Jaime's honesty and integrity in office and who recognize that she always tries to do the right thing regardless of political pressure,” Parker Truax, the Congresswoman’s campaign manager, said.
Her GOP challengers have stood in opposition of the incumbent following her vote to impeach then-president Donald Trump after the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol.
“Sometimes Jaime's approach to her job generates heat from hardcore partisans on either side, but in the long run we always find that it wins us more support than it loses,” Truax wrote in an email to The Reflector. “After the highest first quarter of fundraising we’ve ever had, we're in a great position to run another successful campaign.”
Truax said being able to appeal to a majority of constituents in the district is also necessary to win a re-election, something he said Herrera Beutler has done since she was first elected in 2010.
“Southwest Washington is an independent region that values leaders like (Herrera Beutler) who are effective legislators and also willing to stand up to political pressure to do what's right for our community and this country," Truax wrote.
Joe Kent, who raised the second highest funding total by Third Congressional District competitors, had a total of more than $269,000 as of the first quarterly report, though the candidate was largely supported by a $200,000 loan he himself made to the campaign. He said the loan was a way to show he was committed to the race.
“If I’m going to ask people for their financial support, ask them to volunteer, and then ultimately to come out and vote for me, especially to unseat the incumbent, I want them to know that I’m committed,” Kent said.
He said he was glad to have some momentum going into the race, with the Army veteran likening that commitment to the declaration of duty he made when serving in the armed forces.
“It was my version of pledging my fortune to this cause,” Kent said.
Outside of Kent’s loan, fellow Republican Heidi St. John had the most contributions out of Herrera Beutler’s challengers, coming in with nearly $131,000 in the first quarterly filing. In a release following the publication of the report, St. John said she was “honored and deeply humbled” by the amount of support she was able to receive in the first quarter. The release noted the average campaign donation was $116, “which underscores the vast amount of citizens who are opening their wallets to support her campaign.”
St. John took time in the release to focus on her stance against “far left Democrats,” reiterating points she has made in prior public appearances since she announced her candidacy.
“They want to take away our guns, are opening our borders, want to further erode our public education system, implement government-run health care and job killing energy mandates, and they want to undermine election integrity,” St. John stated in the release.
She further called out Herrera Beutler, saying the incumbent’s constituents “feel betrayed and are no longer being represented.”
Herrera Beutler’s third GOP challenger, Wadi Yakhour, a former Trump administration chief of staff for the Selective Service System, raised about $35,000, according to the quarterly filing. That includes a $25,000 loan he made to his campaign. Yakhour, St. John, and Kent have made appearances in candidate forums, sometimes together, more than 18 months ahead of the November 2022 election.
Though Republican challengers to Herrera Beutler have taken the top spots behind the incumbent in terms of fundraising, two Democratic hopefuls have begun to raise funds, though not at the levels the GOP candidates have at this point.
According to FEC data, Brent Hennrich raised about $1,779 from January through March, while Lucy Lauser raised roughly $254.
Absent among the FEC’s list is Herrera Beutler’s two-time Democratic challenger Carolyn Long, who has not announced if she will seek a third attempt to unseat the Congresswoman.