Republican Joe Kent took a 960-vote lead over Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler in the ballots Monday, putting him in a more likely position to qualify for Washington’s 3rd congressional district general election.
As of Monday night, Kent had 47,623 votes, or 22.79% of the 208,993 votes counted so far. Herrera Beutler received 46,663 votes, or 22.33% of the total. Herrera Beutler was in the lead on election night, but Kent steadily gained ground as more and more ballots were tallied. By Friday night, Kent had nearly closed the margin between himself and the incumbent, leaving 257 votes between the two hopefuls for the job.
“We’re going to watch the vote count one more day before making any declarative statements,” Herrera Beutler campaign manager Craig Wheeler said.
The two Republican candidates are vying for second place in the November ballot against Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez of Skamania. She showed an early lead against the major players and currently holds 30.97% of the vote. Perez is the most popular candidate in Clark, Pacific and Skamania counties.
Herrera Beutler rose 303 votes in Cowlitz County, which was previously held by Perez on Thursday. Kent leads in Thurston and Lewis counties.
About 10,000 votes remain to be counted in Clark County, the district’s most populous county. Voter turnout jumped to 40.79% Monday night. Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey said the remaining ballots should be counted by Tuesday.
Clark County plans to provide an update at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, followed by Thurston County at 5 p.m. Cowlitz County will provide its next update at 5 p.m. Wednesday. Lewis County’s next vote count is August 15, and Skamania, Pacific and Wahkiakum counties are set for August 16, when election results are certified.
The results are subject to an automatic recount if the difference is less than 2,000 votes and less than 0.5% of the total votes for the two candidates. A manual recount will take place if the difference is less than 150 votes and less than a quarter of a percent of the total votes cast.