Another Surprise House Win Keeps Democrats' Hopes Alive

Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, an auto shop owner, defeats far-right foe in Washington state
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 13, 2022 5:33 AM CST
Another Surprise House Win Keeps Democrats' Hopes Alive
Democratic nominee Marie Gluesenkamp Perez speaks to supporters at the Clark County Democrats election night watch party at a hotel in Vancouver, Wash., Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022.   (Taylor Balkom/The Columbian via AP)

Democrats won a second key House race in Washington state Saturday—an open seat in a conservative region that long evaded the party. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, an auto shop owner who describes herself as an independent-minded Democrat, pulled off a victory against Joe Kent, a far-right “America First” ex-Green Beret who was endorsed by former President Trump, in southwest Washington’s 3rd District, per the AP. Combined with Rep. Kim Schrier’s reelection to what Democrats feared was a vulnerable seat, Gluesenkamp Perez’s victory helped buoy party hopes of keeping a majority in the House.

“I am humbled and honored by the vote of confidence the people of Southwest Washington have put in me and my campaign," Gluesenkamp Perez said. The 3rd District, which voted for Trump in 2020, had been represented for more than a decade by Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler. But she failed to make it through the state’s primary after angering conservatives with her vote to impeach Trump following the attack on the Capitol. Gluesenkamp Perez—who co-owns an auto shop with her husband just across the Columbia River in Portland, Oregon—said that as a small-business owner who lives in a rural part of the district, she was more in line with voters than Kent, who repeatedly had to explain his connections to right-wing extremists.

Gluesenkamp Perez supports abortion access and policies to counter climate change, but also described herself as a gun owner who opposes an assault rifle ban, though she does support raising the age of purchase for such guns to 21. She wouldn’t be a “typical Democrat” in Congress, she said. Kent, a former Green Beret who is a regular on conservative cable and podcasts, has called for the impeachment of President Joe Biden and an investigation into the 2020 election. About 20 congressional races remain uncalled, and Politico reports that Democrats have a real chance of retaining control of the chamber. (Democrats already have retained control of the Senate.)

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