Pro-impeachment House Republican facing Trump-endorsed challenger says she's 'never been in this position' because usually 'elections take care of themselves'
Jaime Herrera Beutler faces a Trump-backed primary challenger after she voted to impeach him over Jan 6.
She says she's "never been in this position" and is used to winning elections by focusing on local issues.
She hopes her "independent" approach will "continue to be the thing that's most important to voters."
Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington, who voted to impeach President Donald Trump following the January 6 assault on the Capitol, will face challengers from the right flank of her party in a primary next week.
She says it's a relatively new experience for her.
"I've never been in this position, in this way," she recently told NPR. "I have no metrics — no experience to say, 'This is how everything is going to work. And this is how I should be running this race.'"
Herrera Beutler told the outlet that she's used to winning elections by focusing on local issues.
"This isn't going to make a lot of social media feeds," she told NPR while touring a wastewater treatment plant in her home state. "Whereas I've always felt like if you do the work of the hometown congressperson, elections take care of themselves. And that has proven true now several times."
Washington state uses a top-two primary system to select candidates for the general election, a system in which candidates compete among a primary field that includes not just Republicans, but also Democrats and independents. This month, Herrera Beutler hopes to make it into that top two.
"Yes, I'm a Republican," she told NPR. "But I'm also very independent in my approach. And that's what people want to see here. So I'm betting that's going to continue to be the thing that's most important to voters."
On her right, Herrera Beutler faces Trump-endorsed challenger Joe Kent, who attended a rally in Washington, DC in support of the January 6 rioters, as well as conservative candidate Heidi St. John. On her left, she faces Democratic candidate Marie Gluesenkamp Perez.
Herrera Beutler was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for incitement of an insurrection in the waning days of his presidency.
"The President of the United States incited a riot aiming to halt the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next," she said in a statement at the time, calling the rioters "terrorists" while criticizing Trump for his "pathetic denouncement of the violence that also served as a wink and a nod to those who perpetrated it."
Herrera Beutler's now one of the remaining four who face primary voters this month.
Of the other six, just one — Rep. David Valadao of California — has survived a primary. Rep. Tom Rice became the first of the group to lose his primary to a Trump-backed challenger in June, while the other four, including Rep. Adam Kinzinger, have opted to retire.
Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, Peter Meijer of Michigan, and Dan Newhouse of Washington also face voters this month.
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