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Dramatic twist in WA-03 as MAGA candidate overtakes Trump impeacher

The race in Washington's 3rd Congressional District in the state's southwest took a dramatic turn Monday evening, sending shockwaves through the local Republican party.

Trump-backed Republican Joe Kent pulled ahead of incumbent GOP Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler. The two are vying for second place in an open primary, where the top two candidates from any party advance to the general election.

Kent now leads Herrera Beutler by 960 votes.

Thousands more ballots will be counted this week, but if current ratios hold, a recount looks possible. That would happen after election officials finalize the votes later this month. The Secretary of State's office did not immediately return a request for comment on the possibility of a recount.

Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez has already secured her spot in the general election in the 3rd district. She has 64,718 votes (31%).

Kent has 47,623 (23%), and Herrera Beutler has 46,663 (22%).

Kent, a former Green Beret, has boosted Trump's lies about 2020 election fraud and endorsed the racist "white replacement theory." Kent announced his candidacy in the 3rd district shortly after Herrera Beutler, along with nine other Republicans, voted to impeach Trump.

On Election Day last Tuesday, Herrera Beutler was leading Kent by thousands of votes. But her lead narrowed with each day of counting.

Earlier on Monday, Kent said he was notified by election officials that his signature was not accepted when he first submitted his ballot. His signature and ballot have since been accepted.

Meanwhile, in the 4th Congressional District, another Washington Representative who voted to impeach Trump after the Jan. 6 insurrection, Dan Newhouse, is leading his Trump-backed challenger, former gubernatorial candidate Loren Culp, by 6,000 votes. The Associated Press Friday called that race for Newhouse and Democrat Doug White, who advance to face off in the general election in November.