Washington House seat in play amid increased polarization

Vancouver, Wash.: For years, a congressional seat in a Republican district in southwest Washington has evaded Democrats but this time they have a slim chance in a race that has pitted an “America First” Republican against a rural Democrat.

The tough battle in the 3rd Congressional District is a key race for both parties as the House is up for grabs amid an environment of increasing polarization.

Long-time Republican U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump following the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. She finished third in the August primary, where the top two finishers win a chance to face off in the general election, regardless of party.

Now Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez and Trump-endorsed Republican Joe Kent are fighting for the seat. Herrera Beutler has not endorsed a candidate and has not said how she plans to vote. She took 22 percent of the vote in the primary and which candidate her supporters opt for next month will be the key in determining whether Republicans retain the seat or Democrats score an upset, said Mark Stephan, an associate professor of political science at Washington State University-Vancouver.

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