By Frank Fang
Two of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump last year are seeking to stay in Congress, when they face off against Trump-endorsed challengers in the Washington state primaries on Aug. 2.
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) is set to face eight challengers, including the Trump-endorsed Joe Kent, to represent Washington’s 3rd Congressional District. The state’s top-two primary system means that the top two vote-getters advance to the general election in November regardless of party affiliation.
In Washington’s 4th Congressional District, Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) will face off against six Republican challengers and one Democrat. Among the challengers is Trump-endorsed Loren Culp, who lost to incumbent Washington Gov. Jay Inslee in the 2020 gubernatorial race.
While Herrera Beutler and Newhouse are still fighting to remain in Congress, four other House Republicans who joined the Democrat effort to impeach Trump have opted to retire—Reps. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), John Katko (R-N.Y.), Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), and Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio).
For the remaining four, Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.) lost his bid in June; Rep. David Valadao (R-Calif.) has won to represent California’s 22nd Congressional District; Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Mich.) will be in a primary vote on Aug. 2; and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) will go through a primary on Aug. 16.
A poll (pdf) in early July conducted by the Trafalgar Group found Herrera Beutler in the lead with 30.2 percent support, followed by Kent at 23 percent, and another GOP candidate Heidi St. John in third with 13.3 percent. A remaining 8.2 percent of the respondents said they were undecided.
Trump held a telephone rally for Kent on July 25, during which the former president called the former U.S. Army Green Beret a “tough cookie with a big, fat, beautiful heart.” Trump added that Kent would protect the First and Second Amendments and wouldn’t defund the police, if elected.
As for Herrera Beutler, Trump called her a “RINO” congressman, an acronym for “Republican in Name Only.”
“She fights for the Washington swamp, not for the Washington state,” Trump said of Herrera Beutler.
Late last month, Herrera Beutler, a six-term congresswoman, told The Associated Press that she is “not changing course” in her latest reelection bid, adding that she is “still the same Republican” that she has always been.
In an interview with EpochTV’s “Facts Matter” program in January, Kent praised Trump’s foreign policy.
“I was pretty disenfranchised with the way that the Bush administration, the Obama administration, used our troops in these endless wars,” Kent said. “That was until President Trump came on the scene and really started putting America first, implementing America first foreign policy, and going about fighting our wars in a different capacity.”
“He gave us the authorities that we needed to go out and crush the Islamic Caliphate,” Kent added, referring to Trump.
Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, a small business owner, is seen as the top Democratic challenger seeking to replace Herrera Beutler.
Newhouse, a four-term congressman, seems to be trailing other Republicans, according to recent polls.
A June survey released by GOP candidate Jerrod Sessler’s campaign showed Democratic candidate Doug White in the lead with 23.9 percent, followed closely by Sessler with 23.1 percent, Newhouse with 19.8 percent, and Culp with 13.7 percent, according to Washington-based newspaper The Spokesman-Review.
Sessler is a retired NASCAR race car driver, Navy veteran, and founder of HomeTask.com.
Spry Strategies, a Tennessee-based polling firm, released a poll in April, showing Culp in the lead with 28.1 percent and Newhouse in second with 19.7 percent, according to The Spokesman-Review. The poll also found that, in a head-to-head matchup, Culp led Newhouse 38.3 percent to 37.3 percent.
Last month, Culp told The Epoch Times how he obtained Trump’s endorsement in February.
“I didn’t chase anybody’s endorsement, so Trump’s phone call was a complete surprise,” Culp said. “He read the endorsement letter to me and said he’s behind me 100 percent. Of course, all the other candidates attack me because they have to get through me first. We’re dealing with that.”
Republicans have vowed to launch many investigations aimed at putting pressure on the Biden administration if they win back the House. Among the issues they aim to probe are border security, the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Hunter Biden.
Culp has also promised to join the GOP-led effort to probe the first son.
“When Republicans retake Congress, I pledge to investigate Hunter Biden and the president’s shady dealings with China,” Culp wrote on Twitter on July 13. “When we find that smoking gun, I will introduce another article of impeachment against Biden.”
On July 25, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) revealed that certain FBI officials had a “scheme” to wrongly label “derogatory information” on Hunter Biden as disinformation, based on what his office learned from “highly credible whistleblowers.” Subsequently, FBI officials halted investigative activities related to Hunter Biden in 2020.
A day later, Culp took to Twitter to criticize the FBI.
“The FBI played a role in censoring sensitive info about Hunter Biden ahead of the 2020 election,” Culp wrote. “Demand accountability. Charge and arrest those responsible.”