Congressional candidate Joe Kent promises that he is ‘not slowing down until election day’

Congressional candidate Joe Kent (right) was joined by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy at a fundraiser in Camas Monday. Photo courtesy Joe Kent Campaign
Congressional candidate Joe Kent (right) was joined by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy at a fundraiser in Camas Monday. Photo courtesy Joe Kent Campaign

Kent has made more than 270 appearances in the Third Congressional District during the campaign and his message continues to focus on inflation and crime

In the final days leading up to the Nov. 8 general election, Third Congressional District candidate Joe Kent says he’s focusing on the important issues and the voters themselves.

In a race that has featured at least three in-person debates between Kent, the Republican candidate, and Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez the campaign for the seat in the U.S. House of Representatives has often been contentious. Despite that, Kent told Clark County Today Tuesday that he has a laser focus on the message he wants to continue to share with voters in Southwest Washington and that starts with the issues of crime and inflation..

“I think the voters have had a lot of opportunities to get to know me,’’ Kent said in the phone interview. “It was a very hard-fought, very public primary so I think I’m a known quantity. The reason why Marie is attacking me so heavily is she doesn’t want to talk about inflation because the Democrats have no plan for addressing inflation. Democratic spending is out of control.

“She’d rather talk about her multiple lines of attack,’’ Kent added. “It’s the same thing with crime. She mocks the idea of securing our borders. I think the voters will see through the personal attacks.’’

Kent appeared with several other Republican candidates last week at a rally for justice

at the Clark County Courthouse for Chelsea Harrison, the 14-year-old who was strangled to death in 2005 by Roy Wayne Russell Jr. after he hosted a drug and alcohol party at his Vancouver home. For his crimes, combined with two previous violent felonies, Russell was sentenced to life in prison. Next month, Russell will be re-sentenced to satisfy the requirements of a retroactively applied and newly enacted state law, which could allow Russell to walk out of prison long before his original life sentence. No Democrats attended the event.

“She is endorsed by (Rep.) Sharon Wylie and the Democrats who support letting Roy Russell out of prison,’’ Kent said of Perez.

On the issue of crime, Kent believes Perez’ position on the southern border directly impacts the safety of residents of the Third Congressional District.

“Because of the open borders, Fentanyl is getting pumped into the district,’’ Kent said. “The series of anti-police legislation last fall has had a huge effect on petty crime and assaults in the district.’’

Kent believes Perez’ position on the light rail element of the Interstate Bridge replacement project also impacts the safety of Southwest Washington residents.

“My opponent is also advocating for light rail, which is an economic issue but it also correlates to crime. That (light rail) proposal has been rejected three times by residents of the district,’’ Kent said.

Kent was joined by U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy Monday for a fundraiser in Camas. Kent said the hard-fought primary, which began 18 months ago, drained his campaign finances. The Perez campaign has reported that they have raised three times more funds than Kent’s campaign since the August primary. Kent told Clark County Today he isn’t concerned about the PAC money being poured into the Perez campaign.

“The Democrats want this district,’’ Kent said. “In their eyes, this should be part of the blue wall of the West Coast. We’ve been pretty successful with fundraising but we had a long, hard-fought primary. The Democrats shrewdly surrounded themselves around one candidate. But, if money could have taken me out of this race, we wouldn’t be having this conversation right now.’’

Kent said throughout the past 18 months, he has focused on voter engagement. He has stopped counting at 270 the number of town halls he has appeared at.

“I’m only in this race still because we outworked everybody in the primary,’’ said Kent, who told Clark County Today that he has at least two town halls scheduled each day up to the Nov. 8 general election. 

“People can come and ask me any question,’’ Kent said. “We’re not slowing down until 8 p.m. on election day.’’

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