Clint Didier and Dan Newhouse, two of the eight Republicans running in the primary election for the 4th District Congressional seat, dominated the field Tuesday night.
With 73,264 votes counted, Didier had 22,304 votes, or 30 percent. Newhouse received 19,517 votes, or 27 percent.
Rep. Doc Hastings, a Republican, is retiring from the position after 20 years in office.
The two candidates receiving the most votes will appear on the November ballot. More ballots are to be counted before the election is certified Aug. 19.
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The rest of the 12-person field included: Democrat Estakio Beltran with 11 percent of the vote; Republican Janea Holmquist with 11 percent; Democrat Tony Sandoval with 7 percent; Republican George Cicotte with 6 percent; independent Richard Wright with 3 percent; Republican Gavin Seim with 2 percent; independent Josh Ramirez with 1 percent; and Republicans Kevin Midbust, Glen Stockwell and Gordon Allen Pross each with less than 1 percent.
The district includes voters spread across Benton, Franklin, Yakima, Walla Walla, Douglas, Okanogan, Grant and Adams counties.
Didier was leading in all counties except Yakima, where Newhouse had 44 percent of the votes, and Grant, where Holmquist had 32 percent of the vote.
In Benton County, Didier had 34 percent of the votes compared to Newhouse with 23 percent.
In Franklin County, Didier had 43 percent and Newhouse had 20 percent.
Didier’s strongest showing was in Walla Walla County, with 56 percent of the vote.
“It’s a statement by the people of the 4th Congressional District that they’re tired of big government, tired of government in every aspect of their lives,” Didier said Tuesday evening. He said the people want someone to go back to Washington, D.C., and fight for their freedom.”
Newhouse said the results “indicate that the voters clearly want a candidate who will go back to Washington, D.C., and get results.”
“I'll fight to pass a balanced budget amendment, repeal and replace Obamacare and protect our Second Amendment rights,” he said.
Didier, a tight end on three Super Bowl teams with the Washington Redskins, is running for office for the third time since 2010.
Didier, 55, an Eltopia farmer and tea party favorite, has said he will oppose all new taxes and anything that grows the size of government.
His largest donor as of June 30 was the National Association for Gun Rights Political Action Committee, according to the Federal Election Commission. In his campaign, he had a gun giveaway, in which he randomly awarded two pistols and a military-style rifle.
At a July 10 candidate forum, Didier questioned why so much is spent on Hanford cleanup.
“I think the budget is more than adequate — $2 billion a year? Seriously?” he asked.
Didier then blasted the Tri-Party Agreement, which sets Hanford cleanup deadlines, saying there is no accountability for those responsible for the cleanup.
“There’s the problem — the Department of Energy, EPA and the Department of Ecology,” he said. “That’s why nothing’s getting done. We’ve got three agencies that are running amok.”
Didier’s campaign sent an eight-page magazine-style mailing to voters during the primary campaign. In it, he was questioned by supporter Mike Siegel, a Seattle-based radio talk show host.
Didier said opponents are criticizing him for taking $291,000 in federal farm subsidies between 1995 and 2010, but added that they are not telling people that he has quit taking the subsidies and donated his last check to a wounded veterans program.
He said he swore off subsidies after coming to realize that they are the government’s way of keeping farmers subservient.
Most of the subsidy is crop insurance, which Didier said can be privatized.
The United States should bring soldiers home from overseas conflicts to be placed on the border, Didier said.
Newhouse, 58, and his family operate a 600-acre farm near Sunnyside where they grow hops, tree fruit, grapes and alfalfa. He served as state agriculture director from 2009-13 and before that he served in the state House of Representatives from 2003-09.
As a legislator, his pro-jobs stance led to recognition by the National Federation of Independent Businesses and the Association of Washington Business.
He said he will work to secure funding for Hanford cleanup and plans to continue Hastings’ efforts to make Hanford’s historic B Reactor part of a national park.
Keeping it open as part of a park should be cheaper than mothballing it, the process used for other Hanford reactors, he said.
Newhouse’s top priorities include debt and deficit reduction; repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act; and agricultural issues, he said in response to a Herald editorial board questionnaire.
“We have to get our budget deficit under control,” he said.
The nation’s debt is threatening Social Security, Medicare and other essential functions, he said. It puts the nation’s credit rating and economic growth at risk, he said.
He opposes raising taxes, but hopes that improving the economy will create more tax revenue.
Because of the Affordable Care Act, residents of the 4th District are dealing with more government bureaucracy, canceled health plans, higher premiums, Medicare cuts and loss of doctors, he said.
Immigration reform is needed to ensure a stable work force, he said.
“Having an illegal work force for several of our key industries in not a sustainable situation,” he said during the campaign.
He wants to allow immigrants to apply for legal status if they have no serious criminal history, require them to learn English, pay their taxes and a penalty, and then wait for citizenship.
He supports increased water storage for the district’s arid farmland and sensible land-use decisions made locally, not by federal officials. Government policies also are needed to promote a healthy business and trade climate.
Herald reporter Geoff Folsom contributed to this story.
Annette Cary: 509-582-1533; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @HanfordNews