Two Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump have taken an early lead over their GOP rivals backed by the former president and tasked with ousting them.
Dan Newhouse, from Washington’s fourth congressional district, and Jaime Herrera Beutler, from the third, were both well ahead of Maga’s hardline challengers who had received the former president’s endorsement.
With 47 percent of the vote counted, Mr. Newhouse had 27 percent of the vote, Democrat Doug White had secured 26 percent and Republican Lauren Culp — the Trump-backed candidate — was on 22 points.
In the third congressional district, with 57 of the votes counted, Ms. Herrera Beutler was in second place with 25 percent, behind Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez with 32 points.
Behind Ms. Herrera Beutler were Joe Kent, a former Green Beret with Mr. Trump’s support at 20 percent, and Heidi St. John, a Christian activist and author, at 15 points.
Washington state is one of two places in the country that uses an open primary between the top two, in which the top two candidates, regardless of political party, advance to the general election showdown in November.
Political analyst Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report said that while no race had been declared, it appeared that both incumbents would advance to the general election and likely win over their Democratic challenger.
“Based on early odds, it’s a strong bet for impeachment Rep. Dan Newhouse will advance in the first two primaries of #WA04. As long as he does, he’s safe in November (vs. D or R),” he tweeted.
He added: “Based on initial returns, it’s also a strong impeachment bet for Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler to advance in the first two primaries of #WA03. As long as he does, he’s safe in November (vs. D or R). Both Newhouse and Herrera Beutler were helped by a divided pro-Trump opposition.”
Newhouse, 67, and Herrera-Beitler, 43, were among just 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump.
After leaving office, Trump vowed revenge against the 10 and backed right-wing challengers against them.
One of the 10, Peter Meijer, a congressman from Michigan, was trailing challenger John Gibbs, who had Mr. Trump’s backing.
Democratic candidate Doug White urges voters to support him in congressional race
In Ms. Herrera Beutler’s case, Mr. Trump endorsed Mr. Kent, who has been an outspoken challenger in the third-term race, where Ms. Herrera Beutler was first elected in 2010 and has been re-elected five times.
In voting to impeach Mr Trump, Ms Herrera-Beutler said: “The President of the United States has incited a riot aimed at stopping the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to another. This riot resulted in five deaths.”
He added: “I understand the argument that the best course is not to further inflame the country or alienate Republican voters. But I am a Republican voter. I believe in our Constitution.”
Trump said in a statement that the vote to impeach Ms. Herrera Beutler was “against the Republican Party” and that Kent, if elected, would be a “fighter for the America First agenda.”
In an interview with The independent earlier this year, Mr Kent said: “We feel pretty strong [Trump’s] still perhaps the strongest endorsement in the history of US politics.”
Ms Gluesenkamp Perez had raised only a fraction of the money raised by her rivals, having only entered the race in April.
But he said the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wadethe landmark 1973 decision that allowed two generations of women access to safe and legal abortion had increased interest in her campaign.
“After Roe came down, it was an order of magnitude difference in the number of volunteers coming through our website,” he said at a virtual town hall last month, in response to a question from The independent. “People are angry. They come out with their pitchforks for this race.”
He added: “We know that Jamie and Joe would both vote for a federal ban on abortion. And as much as we’d like to think our rights are safe in Washington state, they’re not. They would like us to be complacent. It was not. We’re not going to roll over this. These are rights worth fighting for.”
Also in Washington state, incumbent Democratic Sen. Patty Murray advanced to the general election over Republican Tiffany Smiley.
In the Eighth Congressional District, incumbent Democratic Rep. Kim Schrier advanced to the general election after securing more than 49 per-vote, though it was unclear who her Republican challenger would be.