Joe Kent, the former green beret endorsed by Donald Trump, climbed to just 257 votes behind the Republican congresswoman he is trying to oust.
After the first votes were counted in Tuesday’s primary, Mr. Kent, 42, was far behind the incumbent, as well as Democratic candidate Marie Perez in the race for Washington’s third congressional district.
But as the count continued, with more results coming out, Mr Kent saw his numbers soar.
On Friday night, with 95 per cent of all votes counted and as officials announced there would be no more results released until Monday, Mr Kent was just 257 behind Ms Herrera Beutler.
“There will be no countdown for the next two days as we believe in weekends here in Washington State (thanks a union!),” tweeted Phil Gardner, the Lt. Governor of Washington.
“The next reports will come from Clark, Cowlitz and Thurston on Monday evening.”
Ms. Perez, 34, the Democrat, saw her total jump to 57,345, putting her at 31.2 points, ahead of Ms. Herrera Beutler, 43, at 22.6 and Mr. Kent at 22.5.
The Associated Press had previously called the race for Ms Perez, but it was unclear who she would be up against in November’s general election.
Washington state is one of the few places that uses the first two open primaries in which the highest-scoring candidates — regardless of party — go in the general election.
Ms. Herrera Beutler was first elected to Washington’s third congressional district in 2010 and re-elected five times.
But she was one of ten House Republicans to vote to impeach Mr Trump after the January 6 riots and the creation of a committee to investigate what happened.
Mr Trump denounced the ten as traitors and vowed to oust them all.
Another of the ten, Dan Newhouse, of Washington’s fourth congressional district, resisted a challenge from Loren Culp, a former police chief who had the ex-president’s backing in the contest. He will go to the general election against Democrat Doug White, the Associated Press announced on Friday.
On Tuesday night, Michigan Congressman Peter Meijer lost to challenger John Gibbs, who had Mr Trump’s backing.
Two others had primaries in June. Tom Rice of southern Colorado, while David Valadao of California survived. Mr Trump’s archenemy Liz Cheney faces a primary showdown on August 16. She is generally expected to be defeated.
Political analyst Dave Wasserman of Cook Political Report tweeted: “Pro-impeachment Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler needs a miracle. Trump-endorsed Joe Kent is now the heavy favorite to knock him out of the top two.
The Independent Gt