Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., will be returning to Washington, D.C., to represent the Tri-Cities in Congress for a third term.
He was leading Tuesday night with 65 percent of the vote, or 85,149 of the ballots counted.
Christine Brown, a Tri-City Democrat and a former KNDU TV station manager and news anchor, received 35 percent, or 45,040 votes.
Newhouse said Tuesday night that he was honored that voters had chosen him for another term, and also humbled.
“I take this job very seriously and do my best to represent the people of Central Washington,” he said.
Newhouse did a little better in the general election than he did in the primary, when he earned 63 percent of the vote to Brown’s 34 percent. It is the first time he has faced a Democrat on a November ballot.
He’s previously been challenged by fellow Republican Clint Didier, a farmer and former professional football player, for the 4th Congressional District seat.
Those were tighter races with Newhouse taking 58 percent of the votes in 2016 and 51 percent of the votes in 2014.
Tuesday night Newhouse had strong leads in all eight counties in the 4th District. He had 63 percent of the vote in both Benton and Yakima counties and 62 percent in Franklin County.
His strongest showing was in Walla Walla County, where he took 78 percent of the ballots counted Tuesday.
Brown’s strongest showing was in Franklin and Okanogan counties, winning 38 percent of the vote in each.
Newhouse said he will continue to work on water, immigration and Hanford nuclear reservation issues important to Central Washington, plus will fight against proposals to tear down the four lower Snake River dams.
On the national front, he said he’ll be focused on Social Security, Medicare and health care issues. He’s also concerned about trade issues that affect agriculture and other interests, he said.
“I’ll continue to be a voice of fiscal conservatism,” he said.
Newhouse is a third-generation Yakima Valley farmer who previously was the director of the Washington State Department of Agriculture.
He is a co-sponsor for a farmworker bill that includes elements of immigration reform, such as a requirement that employes use E-Verify to ensure workers are legally allowed to work in the United States.
Repairing the nation’s “broken” immigration system is critical to national security, he said. The nation must be vigilant against threats, including thoroughly screening those who wish to cross its borders, he said.
He has been active on protecting the four lower Snake River dams, saying dams and salmon can coexist. He also has pushed for larger Hanford budgets than proposed by the Trump administration.
During the campaign Newhouse defended not signing a discharge petition that would have sent the so-called “clean” bill addressing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, to the House floor for a vote.
He said it was a pragmatic move, with President Donald Trump vowing to veto the bill if it reached his desk. It could have kept him from working on other immigration proposals that stood a chance of approval, he said.
Healthcare reform was Brown’s top issue. She supported a single-payer model.
Newhouse supported the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, saying he was acting on the wishes of his 4th District constituents.
He blamed the Senate for not approving an alternative, the American Health Care Act. He opposes a single-payer model, similar to Medicare, saying it would be fiscally irresponsible and that the nation is not ready for government-run healthcare.