Camas council member announces bid for Third Congressional District seat

Leslie Lewallen
Leslie Lewallen

Leslie Lewallen will join fellow Republican Joe Kent in the battle to unseat Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp-Perez

Leah Anaya
For Clark County Today

Camas City Councilor Leslie Lewallen filed with the Federal Election Commission last Thursday to challenge Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp-Perez in the Third Congressional District (CD3). The seat was flipped blue by the current Congresswoman in the 2022 election, and her previous competitor, Joe Kent, announced his bid to run against her again in the next race just weeks after she was certified as the winner.

“I was a prosecutor, and I’m a mom: I don’t get involved in projects without a plan to succeed,” Lewallen told Clark County Today. “We already have a plan to raise more than the $5 million it will take to win this seat. I know this will be hard, but I know how to succeed against the odds, which is what I did when I was elected to the Camas City Council.”

The Third Congressional District saw a contentious race for the position in 2022 when several candidates vied to oust former Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler. Most of the attention went to Republican candidates Heidi St. John and Joe Kent, with former State Representative Vicki Kraft also announcing a candidacy. Kent ultimately defeated St. John, Kraft, and others in the primary and he went on to face Gluesenkamp-Perez in November. The difference between the two in the general election was approximately one percent of the vote.

Asked about the possibility of another heated race, Lewallen said, “I believe in the saying, ‘Thou shalt not talk ill of another Republican.’ I love Southwest Washington. I’m going to roll up my sleeves and fight like heck, and I hope a lot of people will join me in that fight for the issues important to voters.”

Lewallen said that the progressive agenda of Gluesenkamp-Perez is not representative of Southwest Washington. 

“I am keenly aware of how much is at stake for our country and the future of America in this next election,’’ Lewallen said. “We need leaders who will represent our communities and stand up for our values. Now, we have a representative that is focused on supporting the unchecked progressive agenda of the Washington DC special interests and letting them call the shots. As a sitting council member, I have first-hand experience in dealing with government budgets and trying to reign in out-of-control spending.

“People are looking for someone who is a successful champion, who listens and who will fight for the issues that matter here in Southwest Washington,’’ Lewallen added. “Those include helping families that are getting squeezed by inflation at the grocery store but don’t see an increase in their paychecks. We need a third Columbia River crossing. We need to build up our rural economy including logging. Finally, parents and families need to know their representative is not off on some special interest crusade that won’t help them. Whether my party is the majority or not, I will work to defend our communities and values.”

Lewallen’s candidacy has already received support from St. John.

“This is the reason we have primary elections,” said St. John. “I’d love to see as many good candidates on the field as possible so we can choose the best one. That’s how our elections work. I think Leslie is a great candidate, and I wish her the best.”

Kent said he had no comment on the matter.

Matt Bumala, chair of the Clark County Republican Party, said that he and the entire leadership of the Party were surprised by the announcement.

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