Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez leads Trump ally Joe Kent in Washington's 3rd
Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez led far-right candidate Joe Kent in early returns from Tuesday's election, giving Democrats hope they might be able to turn Washington's 3rd Congressional District blue for the first time in 12 years.
Driving the news: After the first rounds of ballots were counted Tuesday night, Gluesenkamp Pérez led Kent by more than 5 percentage points, according to the Washington secretary of state's office.
- Many ballots remain uncounted, and the results could change over the course of the week.
Why it matters: Glusenkamp Pérez's election-night lead comes after some Republicans publicly said they would cross party lines to vote for her, citing Kent's extreme views — including his unfounded claims that the 2020 election was stolen — as reasons they couldn't support him.
Context: In many ways, the race in southwest Washington has served as a proxy for the influence of former President Trump, who endorsed Kent.
- The Republican incumbent, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, lost in the primary after being one of 10 Republicans nationwide to vote for Trump's impeachment.
Catch up quick: The election of Gluesenkamp Pérez, an auto shop owner who has never held elected office, would mark a return to Democratic representation for Washington's 3rd Congressional District, which was represented by Democrat Brian Baird from 1997 to 2011.
- Throughout the campaign, Glusenkamp Pérez tried to draw attention to Kent's far-right views, such as his claim that the Jan. 6 attack was an "intelligence operation" and that defendants of the insurrection are being held as "political prisoners."
- She also has criticized his anti-abortion rights stance, saying in an ad that if his views were law, women like her could lose their ability to have children "or worse" due to the restrictions he'd impose.
- The candidates disagreed on gun control measures, too, with Gluesenkamp Pérez saying she would support banning the sale of semiautomatic rifles to people under age 21, and Kent pledging to oppose any new firearm restrictions.
What's next: More ballots will be counted in the vote-by-mail election in the coming days, which could cause Kent to gain ground or even pull ahead.
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