After losing the seat to Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez in the 2022 general election, the CCRP governing party is rallying its support around one candidate for the 2024 race
Ken Vance, editor
Clark County Today
The Clark County Republican Party (CCRP) is attempting to implement a different strategy for the 2024 Third Congressional District race for a position in the U.S. House of Representatives.
After losing the seat to Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez in the 2022 general election, the CCRP governing party is rallying its support around one candidate for the 2024 race.
“The governing body of the Clark County Republican Party made a strong statement tonight that they support Joe Kent early on for Congress in our 3rd Congressional District,’’ CCRP Chairman Matthew Bumala wrote to Clark County Today in an email Thursday. “The choice to endorse Kent this early was massively supported with nearly 84% of the votes. Only 2/3 of the Precinct Committee Officers needed to vote in approval for this endorsement to be passed.’’
After surviving a hotly contested 2022 primary election season, which included fellow Republicans Heidi St. John and former state Rep. Vicki Kraft, Kent was defeated by Perez in the 2022 general election by just more than 2,600 votes. In December, Kent officially announced that he would seek the seat in 2024.
“This speaks volumes in comparison to the last election cycle which had several Republican candidates in the race going into the primaries without any of them having the endorsement from the County Party,’’ Bumala wrote, referring to the CCRP strategy. “In Washington State, we have a jungle primary. The divided vote hurt us unnecessarily and gave little runway time for people to rally behind Kent going into the general election. Had our party rallied behind him earlier, we’d see a different Congressional Representative in D.C. right now.’’
Prior to the 2022 election, the Third Congressional District was represented by Republican Jaime Herrera Beutler, who held the seat since 2010. Herrera Beutler lost support among Republicans in the district when she was one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach then-President Donald Trump in January 2021. One month after Herrera Beutler voted for Trump’s impeachment, the CCRP voted to censure the congresswoman.
“The hopes of those that voted for the endorsement are that we can unite behind one candidate now and avoid the division and infighting over different candidates,’’ Bumala told Clark County Today. “We can’t replay what we did to ourselves last election cycle. We are in it to win. Tonight was a big proclamation toward that.”
Republican Leslie Lewallen, a member of the Camas City Council, recently announced her bid for the Third Congressional District seat.
Bumala was elected as chairman of the CCRP on Dec. 10, 2022.
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