The second-quarter filings for the Federal Elections Commission are in, and in the race for Washington’s Third Congressional District, incumbent Jaime Herrera Beutler maintains a sizable lead over challengers from her own party.
The filings released earlier this month cover campaign contributions and spending between April and June. According to the filings, Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, raised about $463,000 in the second quarter, bringing her total raised to slightly more than $1.2 million.
Herrera Beutler’s fundraising has increased significantly this election season compared to the 2020 contest. During the second-quarter filings in 2019, Herrera Beutler had about $486,000 cash on hand, her campaign manager Parker Truax said, compared to the more than $1 million on hand her campaign has now.
In a statement, Truax focused on Herrera Beutler’s work in Congress as she seeks a seventh term.
“(Herrera Beutler) 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,” Truax said. “And this fundraising report demonstrates she'll have all the resources necessary to share that record with voters.”
The increase in fundraising comes as Herrera Beutler faces multiple challengers from the Republican Party, another difference from the 2020 contest. Early in the year, three GOP hopefuls declared their intent to run, though they remain behind the incumbent in dollars raised.
Army veteran Joe Kent has raised the most among Herrera Beutler’s challengers, both in the second quarter and as a whole for the 2022 contest. His campaign raised more than $366,000 from April through June, bringing his grand total raised to about $636,000 with more than $512,000 on hand. The amount was more than the $269,000 he raised in the first quarter of 2021, and didn’t include any personal loans he made. Last quarter he loaned $205,000 to his own campaign, according to FEC filings.
Kent raised $200,000 more than any of his fellow challengers to unseat Herrera Beutler, Byron Sanford, Kent’s campaign manager, noted in a statement. Sanford pointed out that Kent had not raised funds through political action committees (PACs). According to FEC filings, Herrera Beutler raised more than $332,000 through PACs so far, including close to $172,000 in the second quarter.
“The success of this campaign is due to the hundreds of local volunteers, over (50) public events held all over the district, conservative media attention from around the country and donations from patriotic Americans,” Sanford said. “We look forward to another successful financial quarter in three months’ time.”
The incumbent’s next-highest fundraising challenger, author and speaker Heidi St. John, raised about $149,000 in the second quarter, putting her total raised at roughly $280,000 with about $222,000 cash on hand. Like Kent, St. John, a Battle Ground resident, has called herself an “America First” candidate. She is one of two challengers to Herrera Beutler to raise six-figure sums from April through June. Her campaign’s spending in the second quarter was about $46,000, lower than Kent’s $104,000.
Trump administration appointee and Navy Veteran Wadi Yakhour raised significantly less for his campaign in the second quarter compared to the first, bringing in $1,860 compared to about $35,000. Of Herrera Beutler’s challengers from her own party to declare in February, he has trailed Kent and St. John, with currently about $36,000 raised and roughly $15,000 cash on hand.
In a response to The Reflector, Yakhour said heavy fundraising wasn’t part of the game plan in a campaign more than a year off from the 2022 primary election.
“(T)he first step in building a successful campaign is building a successful team,” Yakhour said, adding he planned announcements on “key players” that will be involved. He said what he had raised so far was from “family, friends, neighbors and those who truly supported my message from the very beginning.”
Yakhour said his experience both as a Navy aircrewman and in the Trump administration gave him an idea on how a “top-down and full-fledged focus on results” campaign could be successful. He said the other candidates were running “old-school” Republican-style campaigns.
“While my opponents are welcome to chase conservative celebrity endorsements, I'm concentrating on winning the endorsements of the people who actually live in this community, such as the small business owners who were forced to keep their stores closed over the last year because of the misguided policies set by our government, many of which (Herrera Beutler) supported,” Yakhour said.
Herrera Beutler faces two declared Democratic Party challengers, though they lag behind in fundraising totals. Brent Hennrich managed to raise more than $10,000 in the second quarter, bringing his total to close to $12,000 raised with about $4,000 cash on hand. Lucy Lauser’s filing showed only $60 in receipts from April through June, with a total of $314 raised and about $160 cash on hand.
A fourth Republican challenger to Herrera Beutler, Matthew Overton, has filed to run but has not filed any reports to the FEC.