Gloves already coming off as 3rd Congressional District race heads to November general election

Joe Kent issues a statement Wednesday attempting to unite Republicans; Washington State Democratic Party Chair Tina Podlodowski issues statement critical of Kent and his endorsement by former President Donald Trump

Now that the results of the Aug. 2 primary election appear to be determined, the campaigns for the two remaining candidates in the 3rd Congressional District didn’t waste any time setting the stage for the final three months of the race to fill the seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Joe Kent. Photo courtesy Joe Kent/Facebook
Joe Kent. Photo courtesy Joe Kent/Facebook
Marie Gluesenkamp Perez. Photo courtesy
Marie Gluesenkamp Perez. Photo courtesy

Republican Joe Kent holds a 1,050-vote lead over six-term Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler in the race for the second spot on the ballot for the Nov. 8 general election. Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez earned the other spot on the November ballot.

As Kent, a former Green Beret endorsed by former President Donald Trump, overcame a 4,707-vote deficit to Herrera Beutler in the days following the initial returns from the Aug. 2 primary election, he remained quiet, choosing to wait until all the ballots were counted before making a statement. On Wednesday, Kent released that statement.

“This was a very hard fought primary and that was a good thing,’’ Kent said. “Steel sharpens steel, and I feel very prepared to go forward and fight the far left and the security state that are threatening the future of our country and the liberty of our people.’’

Kent moved quickly to attempt to unify the Republican candidates in the race and their supporters. 

“I want to thank Jaime Herrera Beutler, Heidi St. John, Vicki Kraft, Leslie French and their supporters,’’ he said. “Our campaigns fought hard because we all care deeply about this district and this country. 

“Now is the time to unite as Republicans because the stakes have never been higher,’’ Kent added. “The far left is moving at breakneck speed to radically change our country by seizing every lever of power (they) can grasp and turning them against us, from raiding President Trump’s home to criminalizing citizens for speaking out at a school board meeting.

“The only thing that can and will stop them is a unified Republican Party that is going to take back our republic starting this November,’’ Kent said. “I look forward to standing in the breech with other Republicans here in Washington State and across the country to do my part to Make America Great Again.’’

Throughout the campaign, Kent has aligned himself with the former president. On Wednesday, a statement from the Washington State Democratic Party Chair Tina Podlodowski made it clear the Democrats will attempt to rally support for Gluesenkamp Perez by attacking Kent’s alignment with Trump.

“There are few candidates more unfit for public office than Joe Kent, except Donald Trump, himself,’’ read Podlodowski’s statement. “Kent was endorsed for a reason. He shares the same hateful, extreme beliefs as Trump — beliefs that led to the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection, which Kent called a ‘phony riot.’ 

“But that’s just the tip of the iceberg,’’ Podlodowski continued. “Kent is connected to a number of white nationalists, like Nick Fuentes, Patriot Prayer’s Joey Gibson, Oath Keeper and Arizona state Sen. Wendy Rodgers, and even had a Proud Boy on his payroll. And if that weren’t damning enough, he has repeatedly advocated for ‘white replacement,’ the conspiracy nonwhite immigrants are being brought into the U.S. to replace white people — part of why Kent wants to ban virtually all immigration, including refugee resettlement from Afghanistan and Ukraine.

“The examples of Kent’s xenophobia and gross extremism are numerous,’’ Podlodowski stated. “He is not only the antithesis of our Democratic values, but of American values.

“Voters in the 3rd Congressional District deserve better than a far-right extremist,’’ Podlodowski said. “They deserve real representation; they deserve  — and need — Marie Gluesenkamp Perez in Congress. As a small-business owner and mother, Marie is intimately aware of the struggles working people and families face each day. And she is the only candidate in this race who will fight to protect our freedom to vote, access to abortion, democracy itself, and so much more. 

“At the state party, we are committed to ensuring Marie has the support needed to cross that finish line in November, keeping MAGA Republicans like Kent out of office and giving the 3rd a much-needed congressional champion,” Podlodowski concluded.

The latest vote count (released at 4:32 p.m. Wednesday) showed Kent 1,050 votes ahead of Herrera Beutler, who conceded the race Tuesday. Gluesenkamp Perez, the co-owner of a car repair business, had 31.02 percent of the vote. Kent earned 22.77 percent, and Herrera Beutler 22.29 percent.

There are two tests that would automatically trigger a mandatory recount in the race. If there is a differential of less than 2,000 total votes and if the differential is within one half of 1 percent, then there will be a mandatory recount. Currently, Kent leads Herrera Beutler by 0.48 percent.

Herrera Beutler had received a vigorous challenge from Kent and other conservative Republicans who were enraged by her vote to impeach former President Trump. There were a total of nine candidates in the 3rd Congressional District race.

Herrera Beutler’s term will end on Jan. 3, 2023. The election will be certified on Aug. 16.

For Clark County election results, go to

For statewide results, go to

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