Despite facing a conservative onslaught, U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler significantly outraised her Republican political challengers in early fundraising and has already amassed a considerable war chest in the weeks since she voted in favor of impeaching then-President Donald Trump.
Donors gave $744,754 to Herrera Beutler in the first three months of 2021, according to federal filings made public Thursday. The numbers easily eclipse her own fundraising records.
The outpouring coincides with Herrera Beutler’s time in the national spotlight. The Republican from Battle Ground broke party ranks Jan. 13 to impeach the former president over his role in inciting the attack on the U.S. Capitol. Then, in February, she offered to testify in the Senate’s impeachment trial.
Her actions divided Republicans in her district, which touches seven counties in the southwestern part of the state. Herrera Beutler’s actions also led three Trump supporters to challenge her, yet also rallied some moderate Republican donors to her defense.
“Sometimes Jaime’s approach to her job generates heat from hardcore partisans on either side,” campaign spokesperson Parker Truax said in a statement. “But in the long run, we always find that it wins us more support than it loses,”
Heidi St. John, a Christian author and public speaker, appeared to be the challenger with the strongest fundraising quarter. Filings show she raised $130,877 from more than 100 donors.
Joe Kent, a former CIA employee and an Army Special Forces veteran, raised $269,376. While that would best Herrera Beutler in a typical year, about $205,000 are loans from Kent himself, per the filings.
Wadi Yakhour, a former staffer at the U.S. Selective Service, received $34,558. Yakhour gave himself $25,000 as well, filings show. Don Benton, Yakhour’s former boss at the federal government and himself a former state senator with a long reputation, gave $300.
In February, Kent and Yakhour told OPB they announced early to give themselves ample time to build support. All three candidates have said they would throw their support behind the Republican who posed the best challenge to Herrera Beutler.
Herrera Beutler won her first term in 2010. The last two election cycles, she has faced her toughest challenge in years from Carolyn Long, a Democrat.
In April, Herrera Beutler visited a mass vaccination site in Vancouver – the largest city in her district – but threw cold water on any speculation she was in campaign mode.
“I know the people who elected me to do this job expect me to do it and not spend all my time campaigning,” she said.
Two Democrats have announced their candidacies already in this cycle, as well, but neither have made much of a fundraising splash, filings show. Brent Hennrich raised $1,778 and Lucy Lauser raised $254.19.
While Herrera Beutler’s challengers appear strongest from the district’s Trump-supporting wing, recent elections suggest she is more popular than the former president. She won her election by 13 points, while Trump won the district by three.