Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, Democratic congressional candidate for the 3rd District, meets Lewis County residents at the fair


By Isabel Vander Stoep /

As the babies vied for fame and fortune at the KMNT/KELA Diaper Derby Thursday midday at the Southwest Washington Fair, more serious conversations were taking place below the stands.

Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, D-Washougal, a November election candidate to represent Washington’s 3rd congressional district, visited the Lewis County Democrats booth and met with voters before heading to McFiler’s in Chehalis for a meeting later in the afternoon.

After six terms represented by Jaime Herrera Beutler — one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol — the district is ready for a change, little whoever is elected.

Joe Kent, R-Battle Ground, has his own campaign booth at the fair. However, volunteers said he was out of town for the week.

Endorsed by Trump, Kent has had several appearances on Fox News, advocating for Congress on the national stage. With his campaign slogan “America First for Congress”, Kent has spent more than a year campaigning on the ideals that the 2020 election was fraudulent and that Herrera Beutler was a “traitor” and a “RINO” – Republican in name only – to vote for his impeachment.

In largely red Lewis County, the question for Gluesenkamp Perez and Kent appears to be how the candidates will appeal to moderate voters who may have backed Herrera Beutler in the past. As Gluesenkamp Perez mingled with people on Thursday, a volunteer at the Lewis County Democrats booth admitted he voted for Herrera Beutler in the primary, saying his concern about Kent’s election was even stronger than his desire to oust the incumbent Republican congresswoman.

Gluesenkamp Perez said given his opponent’s positions: “It’s really not about reversing your vote. It’s about looking at the options and realizing that there’s a very profound difference between Joe Kent and me. Joe Kent is an extremist. Extremists cannot pass bills in Congress.

She also claimed Lewis County voters who pay attention to the issues will find she represents them. An auto repair mechanic who lives just across the border in unincorporated Skamania County, Gluesenkamp Perez, said rural voters have been “symbolized” by politicians for too long.

“I am a rural democrat who works in the trades. … We need to start electing small business owners who are actively working to fix the economy, to bring back family wage jobs. We have far too many extremists, doctors and lawyers. We need to have a more representative body in DC,” she said, later adding, “It’s very clear that Joe Kent bent the knee to Donald Trump. It’s who he listens to, whose opinion is most important to him. I am running for Congress because I want to be a voice for the people of the district. »

Dean Bolen, 43, of Napavine, and his son Gary, visited the booth Thursday to meet the Democratic candidate for the first time.

Bolen considers himself an independent, but said Gluesenkamp Perez’s campaign appealed to him because he thought, “She’s bringing sanity back to politics.” … She’s going to fight for the little people. I am the little people.

A one-year-old mother with a working-class platform, Gluesenkamp Perez isn’t entirely green in politics either. She once ran for a seat on the Skamania County Commission, she said, where she “knocked on every door in the county,” adding, “that’s the kind of caring and listening that we must bring back to politics”.

The Chronicle will continue to cover Washington’s 3rd congressional race through November with profiles on both candidates as well as coverage of their visits to the region.

To learn more, visit the Gluesenkamp Perez website at Kent’s at


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