The two Republican members of Congress from Washington who drew interparty challenges due to their vote to impeach former President Donald Trump were leading other Republicans in the state’s top two primary Wednesday.
Under Washington’s primary system, all candidates run on the same ballot, and the top two vote getters in each of Tuesday’s races advance to the November election, regardless of party — a system observers say may have helped the GOP incumbents in Washington who had been targeted by Trump.
In early returns, Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler and Dan Newhouse looked as they may advance to the general election with a Democratic candidate in each of their races.
If Herrera Beutler and Newhouse ultimately advance to the general election ballot as Valadao did, it will be in large part due to the mechanics of the top two primary, said Cornell Clayton, director of the Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy at Washington State University.
“The top two primary is designed to favor more moderate candidates and make it more difficult for the extremes in either party to primary moderate candidates,” he said.
The number of Republican candidates in these particular two races gave an advantage to Democrats’ chances in claiming one of the top two spots, leaving the Republican vote split, Clayton notes.