The close contest for Washington’s 3rd Congressional District got closer today as late ballots more favorable to ultra MAGA Republican Joe Kent were tabulated in Southwest Washington counties like Clark and Cowlitz, but Kent could be running out of runway to mount another come from behind victory like he had in August.
The smaller counties where Kent is seeing his best performance are pretty much out of ballots to process, while the more populous Clark County — where Marie Gluesenkamp Perez is ahead — still has 45,000 left to count. If Gluesenkamp Perez can stay competitive in the next two or three drops, she ought to be able to eke out a win over Kent and pick up a congressional seat for Democrats.
Kent, one of the most extreme Republicans on the ballot anywhere in the country this year, ended up on the general election ballot due to Republican voters’ dissatisfaction with Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler, who wisely voted to impeach Donald Trump over the January 6th insurrection and was then abandoned by Republicans for her patriotism. Gluesenkamp Perez entered the contest on the Democratic side in February in response to Kent’s candidacy.
Gluesenkamp Perez’s lead over Kent was 10,273 votes yesterday; today, it’s 5,882.
“As expected the margin in this race has tightened, but we remain very optimistic that when all the ballots are counted the voters of Southwest Washington will reject hyper-partisanship and extremism by electing Marie Gluesenkamp Perez the next member of Congress from Washington’s 3rd Congressional District,” said Sandeep Kaushik, one of Gluesenkamp Perez’s advisors, in a statement.
“In today’s ballot count, Joe Kent did not make the gains he needed in order to have more than an outside chance of flipping the outcome of this race. His result was particularly disappointing for him in populous Clark County.”
“Going forward, the vast majority of the votes remaining to be counted are in Clark County, where Marie’s campaign has run strongest, and if current vote counting trends hold Marie will win. While there are still too many outstanding ballots remaining to declare victory, our confidence that Marie will ultimately defy expectations and prevail is growing by the day.”
Despite losing ground to Kent across the district as a whole, Gluesenkamp Perez held her own in Clark County. Her advantage over Kent diminished only slightly in the third count, going from 22,106 votes yesterday to 21,980 today.
Lewis County, one of Kent’s strongholds, is down to just 380 outstanding ballots and won’t report again until next week. Cowlitz has 6,500 ballots awaiting processing (down from 12,000) and will report tomorrow along with Clark.
The late Cowlitz ballots have been favorable to Kent.
He had a 909 vote lead on Election Night in the county, doubled the lead to 1,970 yesterday, and then tacked on. He now has a 3,203 vote advantage in Cowlitz.
The other counties in the district also do not plan to report tomorrow.
Thurston will do a Saturday count, Pacific will do its next count on the 14th, Skamania will do its next count on the 15th, and tiny Wahkiakum County doesn’t plan to do another tally until certification day on November 28th.
Democrats have not won a congressional race in Washington’s 3rd Congressional District since 2008, a wave year for Democrats that bolstered Brian Baird.