Rep. Dan Newhouse appears to be headed back to Washington, D.C., for a second term representing the 4th Congressional District.
He had 68,361 votes, or 58 percent of the vote, with only Douglas County in his district not counted Tuesday.
His opponent, fellow Republican Clint Didier, had 50,131 votes, or 42 percent of those counted.
“Things are looking pretty good,” Newhouse said shortly before 9 p.m. “Trends are strong.”
Being re-elected confirms some of the actions he has taken in his first term and that “a lot of people agree with them,” he said.
The 4th District includes Benton, Franklin, Yakima, Adams, Grant and Okanogan counties and parts of Douglas and Walla Walla counties.
In Benton County, Newhouse had 24,167 votes, or 55 percent, to Didier’s 19,661 votes, or 45 percent.
In Franklin County, home to Didier, the vote was closer. Newhouse had 4,589 votes, or 51 percent, and Didier and 4,438 votes, or 49 percent.
In Yakima County, home to Newhouse, Newhouse had 20,837 votes, or 61 percent of the vote, and Didier had 13,344 votes, or 39 percent.
With Douglas County yet to report, the only county favoring Didier was Walla Walla. There Didier had 613 votes, or 56 percent, to Newhouse’s 475 votes, or 44 percent.
The match was a repeat of the 2014 election, with the same candidates on the ballot. Newhouse won the office with fewer than 2,500 votes more than Didier.
Newhouse, 61, a Sunnyside farmer, built a track record in his freshman term of work on local issues.
He fought for funding for the Hanford nuclear reservation cleanup, ending the West Coast port slowdown and advancing the Yakima Integrated Water Resources Plan to solve issues with the over-allocated water supply in the Yakima Valley.
He also focused on helping veterans obtain care, most recently adding an amendment to the VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act to guarantee veteran access to emergency care at all VA hospitals. The amendment was supported by Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion and the Disabled American Veterans.
Didier, 57, an Eltopia farmer and tea party favorite, is well-known in Eastern Washington as a former professional football player for the Washington Redskins. He was looking for his first win in his fourth run for public office.
Didier attacked Newhouse’s voting record in his first term in Congress as not conservative enough, citing scorecards compiled by conservative groups.
Newhouse said he knows better what benefits his district than East Coast critics who have never visited Eastern Washington.
Didier criticized Newhouse for voting for the omnibus appropriations bill last year, which set spending levels to prevent a possible government shutdown after individual agency spending levels were not approved. Failure of the appropriations bill would have put at risk the money Newhouse had worked for almost a year to obtain for the Hanford nuclear reservation and workers could have faced furloughs.
The omnibus bill included other positives, such as the highest funding ever for border security and resources for troops, Newhouse said. It included an overall limit on refugees from all over the world.
Didier said that fully funding all programs in legislation such as the omnibus bill enabled the Obama administration to continue its corruption. He criticized the bill for providing funds for bringing Syrian and Iraqi refugees into the United States.
Government essentials, including payment of Social Security, would have continued despite a government shutdown, he said.
Didier and Newhouse both support secure borders with a path toward citizenship for immigrants not in the country legally if they show themselves to be hardworking, otherwise law-abiding and learn English. Both say paying a fine is a possibility.
Didier emphasizes having U.S. troops train on both the Mexico and Canada borders. A wall would be too easy to tunnel beneath, he said.
Newhouse emphasizes the need for an effective guest worker program to provide a legal source of workers for the district’s farmers. The current program is too slow and expensive for farmers, he said.