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Gluesenkamp Perez, Herrera Beutler take the lead in early results for Washington's 3rd Congressional District

Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez was in the lead Tuesday night, with incumbent Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler in second ahead of two Republican challengers.

VANCOUVER, Wash. — Unofficial early results Tuesday night showed Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez and incumbent Republican Jaime Herrera Beutler in the lead in the race for Washington's 3rd Congressional District.

As of 10 p.m. Tuesday, Gluesenkamp Perez led with 31.77%, with Herrera Beutler in second at 24.48%. If those rankings hold, the two of them will advance to the general election ballot and face off in November.

The other two prominent candidates in the race are Republicans Joe Kent and Heidi St. John, both of whom ran to the right of Herrera Beutler. Kent was in third place Tuesday night at 20.11%, and St. John was in fourth at 15.08%.

Herrera Beutler has represented the Southwest Washington district since 2010, but she faced a tougher primary race this year, with Kent and St. John both attacking her as insufficiently conservative. 

Kent, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, said he was motivated to join the race because he disagreed with Herrera Beutler's decision to vote to impeach Trump after the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6 last year.

RELATED: Results from the top races in Southwest Washington | Primary Election 2022

No major media outlets had called the race as of Tuesday night, but Perez seemed confident she would advance to the general while celebrating at a rally with her supporters.

"What a relief to see that voters are showing up — they are not falling for these big money lies that are coming through," Perez said. "They are showing up for election integrity, they are showing up for women's rights, and they're showing up for small business owners working the trades like me."

Speaking to reporters Tuesday evening, Herrera Beutler said she came into the primary feeling "cautiously optimistic" and continued to feel that way after seeing the early results.

"Obviously we are not done, we ran through the tape, but what appears right now, what I appear to see is that folks are very interested in making sure that whoever represents Southwest Washington is focused here, on Southwest Washington, and that's been kind of my mainstay in this district," she said. "So, very pleased to be looking at the top two right now, hoping this holds and I get to move on to November."

RELATED: Leading candidates for Washington's 3rd District make their case to voters ahead of the Aug. 2 primary

Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey told KGW earlier in the day that he expected to see voter turnout exceed 40%, a large turnout that he attributed to the attention surrounding the race for the 3rd Congressional District.

"It's fantastic to see people engage with the process," he said. "We appreciate that people are voting, we're thrilled to see people participating."

Kimsey said county staff expected to have about 65% of votes counted by Tuesday night, but added that if the races are very close, the results may not be clear until as late as Friday.

Voters have also picked up on the high energy around Tuesday's primary.

"Usually you don't see so many people voting in the primary," Southwest Washington voter Ali Smith said Tuesday after dropping off her ballot. "There was a huge party across the street at the voting place. It's been like this all day. I'm not sure what it is, I'm hoping it's just there are more people passionate about democracy."

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