Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez defeats Trump ally Joe Kent in Washington’s 3rd congressional district

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Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez, an auto shop owner, won a seat previously held by a Republican. Photo courtesy of the Gluesenkamp Pérez campaign

Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez defeated Joe Kent, a far-right Republican backed by former President Trump, causing a major upheaval in Washington’s 3rd congressional district, the Associated Press reported Saturday night.

Why is this important: Gluesenkamp Pérez’s victory will turn the Southwest District of Washington blue for the first time in 12 years, giving Democrats a major boost as they fight to limit GOP gains in Congress.

  • It also comes as another blow to Trump, whose hand-picked candidates have lost or struggled in numerous races nationwide.

The last: Gluesenkamp Pérez, who lives in rural Skamania County and owns an auto shop in Portland, led Kent by a narrow margin on Saturday afternoon, according to the Washington Secretary of State’s office.

  • The AP called the race on the fifth day of vote counting in the mail-in election.

The big picture: Glusenkamp Pérez will succeed U.S. Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler, who lost his primary earlier this year. Herrera Beutler was one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for instigating the Jan. 6 riot at the United States Capitol.

Catch up fast: During the campaign trail, Gluesenkamp Pérez, an auto repair shop owner, repeatedly argued that Kent held extreme views that would prevent him from accomplishing much in Congress.

Abortion was another one flashpoint in the race, with Gluesenkamp Pérez saying Kent’s anti-abortion stance would put women at risk.

  • The candidates also clashed over immigration, with Kent wanting to end issuing work visas to immigrants and Gluesenkamp Pérez calling the idea “economic sabotage”.

Rollback: After the 2020 election, Kent was a plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging the results in Washington state, alleging without evidence that votes were reversed, deleted or added. A federal judge denied that request last year.

What they say : In a statement Saturday, Gluesenkamp Pérez said “Joe Kent’s candidacy has given voice to some of the darkest impulses in our politics,” including “xenophobia and authoritarianism.”

  • “Southwestern Washington looked them straight in the eye and said no — not here, not now, never,” she said.
  • Kent, meanwhile, announced on Twitter that “it’s not over”. He said his team continues to work to “cure” rejected ballots due to signature mismatch or other issue.
  • “What the media says is irrelevant… The fight goes on while the talking heads talk,” he tweeted.
  • Kent has previously said he would accept the Nov. 8 election results.

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