Oct 18, 2022 - Politics

MAGA Republican faces rural Democrat in 3rd Congressional District

Photo illustration of Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez and Republican Joe Kent

Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photos courtesy of Marie Gluesenkamp Perez's campaign, Nathan Howard/Getty Images

A Southwest Washington Republican who voted to impeach former President Trump could soon be replaced by a far-right candidate who instead wants to impeach President Biden.

Driving the news: Voters in Washington's 3rd Congressional District have a choice in next month's election between Republican Joe Kent, a former Green Beret endorsed by Trump, or Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, a rural Democrat who owns an auto shop.

Why it matters: The red-leaning district could be in play as the parties fight for control of Congress — particularly after the moderate GOP incumbent, U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, was defeated in the primary.

Context: Hererra Beutler was one of 10 Republicans nationwide who voted for Trump's impeachment.

  • After her primary loss in August, the nonpartisan Cook Political Report reclassified the race from "likely Republican" to "leans Republican."

What's happening: Kent and Gluesenkamp Perez met in a debate over the weekend that highlighted some of their major policy differences.

Here's a look at a few of the key issues that have separated them throughout the campaign:

Abortion

At Saturday's debate, Gluesenkamp Perez criticized Kent's anti-abortion stance, a position she described as extreme.

  • Kent has previously said he supports the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and would like to see a nationwide abortion ban. "I believe life begins at conception," he told Portland's KGW news station in July.
  • Gluesenkamp Perez, meanwhile, says she opposes such abortion restrictions. She ran an ad talking about how she had to get an abortion after having a miscarriage, adding that if Kent's views were law, she could have lost her ability to have children "or worse" due to the restrictions he'd impose.

Immigration

At Saturday's debate, Kent said he wants to end not only illegal immigration, but also "economic immigration," in which people come to the U.S. legally on a work visa. He described that system as taking jobs away from American citizens.

  • Gluesenkamp Perez said enacting such a policy would amount to "economic sabotage."
  • Kent has also called for Biden to be impeached in part over the administration's immigration policy, which Kent said has invited "an invasion at our southern border."

Jan. 6 attacks and the 2020 election

Kent told KGW that he believes Jan. 6 was an "intelligence operation" and that defendants are being held as "political prisoners."

  • Earlier, he told the news station that he didn't believe Biden won the 2020 election, saying "it was rigged and stolen."
  • Gluesenkamp Perez has keyed into those statements as examples of Kent being extreme and dangerous.
  • "I believe that storming the Capitol and denying proven election results threatens our democracy," she recently tweeted.

Inflation and COVID measures

When Gluesenkamp Perez talks about combating inflation, she often mentions reducing the cost of child care and health care to help Americans.

  • Kent, meanwhile, has criticized federal COVID relief measures, as well as the recently enacted Inflation Reduction Act, as examples of government overspending that have fueled inflation. He also has blamed Biden for high gas prices.

Gun control

Gluesenkamp Perez said at a debate last month that she doesn't favor banning assault weapons, but does support raising the age to buy semiautomatic rifles from 18 to 21.

  • Kent has shared his belief that the Second Amendment does not allow for restricting gun ownership rights in any way and he would oppose new restrictions.

What's next: Ballots will be mailed to registered voters by the end of this week.

  • Washingtonians who aren't registered or need to change the address on their voter registration can do so online at votewa.gov through Oct. 31.
  • After that, updates can be made in person through 8pm on Election Day, which is Nov. 8.
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