Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, the Republican congresswoman from Battle Ground, dominated the first quarter of fundraising in a bid to defend her seat from three GOP challengers in the 2022 primary.
Campaigns are already up and running for Republicans looking to defeat the six-term incumbent who's drawn criticism from the right flank of the party over her split with former President Donald Trump.
Based on the latest fundraising data reported to the Federal Elections Commission on April 15, Herrera Beutler's impeachment vote helped her more than it hurt her.
She brought in $744,754 over the first three months of the year. That's the most she's ever raised in the first quarter of an election cycle — it's also more than she raised in the first quarter of her last five elections combined.
"Our campaign experienced a huge influx of support from people who cited Jaime's honesty and integrity in office, and recognizing that she always tries to do the right thing regardless of political pressure," her campaign's spokesperson, Parker Truax, wrote in an email to The Columbian. "Sometimes Jaime's approach to her job generates heat from hardcore partisans on either side, but in the long run we always find that it wins us more support than it loses."
Herrera Beutler's financial backers included longtime political donors David and Patricia Nierenberg, who both gave $5,800. The political action committee to reelect Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, also donated $4,000 to her campaign.
At this point, Republicans are dominating to the 2022 election cycle.
Challenger Heidi St. John, a Christian author and public speaker, trailed Herrera Beutler's fundraising numbers with a nonetheless robust $130,877, all from individual donors.
Her list of backers includes former GOP state Rep. Liz Pike, who gave $500.
"I am honored and deeply humbled by the outpouring of financial support from all over Southwest Washington," St. John said in a press release. "Citizens feel betrayed and are no longer being represented by our current representative. This is one reason I am running for the U.S. House of Representatives. I've been a courageous conservative my whole life."
Another Republican challenger for Congress, Army veteran Joe Kent, brought in $64,377. He also loaned his campaign $205,000 of his own money, bringing his total receipts to $269,377.
Wadi Yakhour, a former special assistant to the Secretary of the Interior during the Trump administration, raised $8,408 and loaned his own campaign an additional $25,000. His list of donations includes $300 from Don Benton, the former state senator from Clark County and former Trump administration appointee.
The challengers launched their campaigns early; at this stage, they're grappling to pull ahead as the non-Herrera Beutler Republican of choice in Washington's 3rd Congressional District.
All three are working to draw a contrast with the congresswoman, who's spent the months since impeachment calling for bipartisan cooperation. St. John, Kent and Yakhour lean further to the right, and their rhetoric on the campaign trail includes dire warnings about the growing control of "the left."
In a March candidate forum, all three pledged to unite behind the candidate with the best chance of unseating Herrera Beutler when the time comes. Should Trump formally endorse one of them, they agreed, the other two will drop out.
Small numbers from Democrats
Two Democrats are also running for Congress in Southwest Washington.
Brent Hennirch, a movie theater technician from Vancouver, raised $1,779 for his campaign over the last three months.
Lucy Lauser, a candidate from Washougal protesting St. John's statements against trans people, raised $254.