Trump-backed Joe Kent trails Republicans backing impeachment in Washington primary by less than 257 votes

Former green beret Joe Kent, backed by Donald Trump, has soared to just 257 votes behind the Republican congresswoman he is trying to oust.

Mr. Kent, 42, trailed incumbent President Jaime Herrera Beutler and Democratic candidate Mary Perez after votes were counted in Tuesday’s primary.

But as the count continued, Mr Kent’s numbers soared as more results were released.

On Friday night, Mr Kent was just 257 places behind Ms Herrera Beutler as officials announced that no more results would be released until Monday.

“There will be no calculations for the next two days as we believe in a weekend in Washington state (thanks unions!),” Phil Gardner, the Washington lieutenant governor’s chief of staff, tweeted.

“The next report will be from Clark, Cowlitz and Thurston on Monday night.”

Democrat Ms. Perez, 34, increased her overall score to 57,345, giving her 31.2 points, ahead of 43-year-old Ms. Herrera Beutler’s 22.6 and Mr. Kent’s 22.5.

The Associated Press has launched a campaign for Ms. Perez, but it is unclear who she will face in the November election.

Washington state is one of the few places to take advantage of an open top-two primaries in which the highest-scoring candidates — regardless of party — enter the general election.

Ms Herrera Beutler was first elected to Washington’s third congressional district in 2010 and reelected five times.

But she was one of only 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach Trump after the Jan. 6 riots and set up a committee to investigate what happened.

Mr Trump denounced the ten as traitors and vowed to remove them all.

Another of the ten, Dan New House from Washington’s 4th Congressional District, appeared to have turned down a challenge from former police chief Loren Culp, who had the support of the former president in that campaign.

But on Tuesday night, Michigan Congressman Peter Major lost to Trump-backed challenger John Gibbs.

More to follow…

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