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Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler will vote to keep Liz Cheney in House Republican leadership

UPDATED: Tue., May 11, 2021

U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., speaks Jan. 7 as the House debates the objection to confirm the Electoral College vote from Pennsylvania, at the U.S. Capitol.  (Courtesy of U.S. House TV)
U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., speaks Jan. 7 as the House debates the objection to confirm the Electoral College vote from Pennsylvania, at the U.S. Capitol. (Courtesy of U.S. House TV)
By Jim Brunner Seattle Times

SEATTLE – U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler will vote to retain embattled Rep. Liz Cheney in Republican leadership, bucking the pro-Donald Trump wing of the party that is widely expected to oust Cheney from her position this week.

“Jaime will be voting to keep the House leadership in place,” a Herrera Beutler spokesperson said in an email. The spokesman, Craig Wheeler, said the congresswoman had no additional comment.

Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, was among 10 House Republicans who, like Cheney, voted to impeach Trump for his role in inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Her vote has sparked a backlash from Republican organizations in southwest Washington’s 3rd Congressional District. Multiple pro-Trump challengers have launched campaigns to defeat her in 2022.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has set a Wednesday vote to remove Cheney, R-Wyoming, from her position as House GOP conference chair, replacing her with Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y. Such leadership votes are held via secret ballot, but some members have made their support or opposition known.

Cheney has remained outspoken in rejecting Trump’s false claims about the 2020 election, and has supported creation of a bipartisan commission with subpoena power to investigate the Capitol attack he helped stoke.

In a Washington Post op-ed this month, Cheney warned of disastrous consequences if Republicans “abandon the rule of law and join Trump’s crusade to undermine the foundation of our democracy and reverse the legal outcome of the last election.”

Washington’s two other Republican House members, Dan Newhouse and Cathy McMorris Rodgers, have not yet said how they’ll vote and did not respond to requests for comment. (McMorris Rodgers was previously the GOP conference chair but stepped down from the position after the 2018 election.)

Newhouse, R-Sunnyside, also voted to impeach Trump over the Capitol assault. McMorris Rodgers, 5th District, opposed impeachment and backed efforts to challenge the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory, but reversed course after the Jan. 6 riot.

As a direct result of their impeachment votes, Herrera Beutler and Newhouse have each drawn multiple pro-Trump challengers well ahead of the 2022 election.

One of Herrera Beutler’s challengers, former Army special forces veteran Joe Kent, criticized her support for Cheney on Tuesday in a post on Twitter.

“1 more reason @HerreraBeutler must go. She is siding with the establishment that only stands for American decline, mass immigration and endless wars (wars they will never fight in).” Kent wrote. “JHB only takes a stand when it’s time to sell us out to the failed establishment & the far left.”

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