NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Saturday, November 12th, 2022

Marie Gluesenkamp Perez wins: Democrats flip WA-03 back to blue, defeat Joe Kent

Wash­ing­ton’s 3rd Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict will soon be rep­re­sent­ed by a Demo­c­rat again. Today, major mass media out­lets pro­ject­ed that small busi­ness own­er Marie Glue­senkamp Perez has pre­vailed over ultra MAGA Repub­li­can Joe Kent in the hard-fought race to pick a suc­ces­sor to incum­bent Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, who Repub­li­can vot­ers oust­ed in August for insuf­fi­cient loy­al­ty to Don­ald Trump.

The pro­jec­tion for Glue­senkamp Perez was trig­gered by a Sat­ur­day count of bal­lots in Clark Coun­ty, the dis­tric­t’s vote-rich base, that showed Glue­senkamp Perez hold­ing steady, with Kent stalled out. Clark’s pool of out­stand­ing bal­lots now num­bers just 5,000. The dis­tric­t’s oth­er coun­ties have col­lec­tive­ly less than that.

“I am hum­bled and hon­ored by the vote of con­fi­dence the peo­ple of South­west Wash­ing­ton have put in me and my cam­paign,” said Rep­re­sen­ta­tive-elect Marie Glue­senkamp Perez in a state­ment. “Right up to the end, far-away pun­dits and prog­nos­ti­ca­tors said this race could­n’t be won. They dis­missed the pos­si­bil­i­ty that a mod­er­ate Demo­c­rat focused on pri­or­i­tiz­ing the needs of this dis­trict over par­ti­san point scor­ing could win in a rur­al, work­ing class district.”

“But nation­al pun­dits did not know this dis­trict and its com­mu­ni­ties the way we do here on the ground. I know the peo­ple in my dis­trict are look­ing for rep­re­sen­ta­tion that focus­es on find­ing com­mon ground and deliv­er­ing results, not the extreme hyper­par­ti­san­ship and click­bait pol­i­tics offered by my oppo­nent. They want their inde­pen­dent voice in Con­gress to be a small busi­ness own­er and a mom who works in the trades, not an extreme politi­cian seek­ing celebrity.”

“At the out­set of the gen­er­al elec­tion cam­paign we said this race would be a bell­wether for the direc­tion of our pol­i­tics and the strength of our democ­ra­cy, and that remains true today. Joe Ken­t’s can­di­da­cy gave voice to some of the dark­est impuls­es in our pol­i­tics: white nation­al­ism, xeno­pho­bia, and author­i­tar­i­an­ism. South­west Wash­ing­ton looked them straight in the eye and said no — not here, not now, not ever.”

“The peo­ple have spo­ken, not just here but all around the coun­try: they want rep­re­sen­ta­tives who will seek to build rather than destroy, who will lis­ten and do the work rather than bask in celebri­ty, and who will focus on sub­stance, not slo­gans or sound bites. To the peo­ple of South­west Wash­ing­ton: I pledge to you that I will work every day to live up to the respon­si­bil­i­ty you have placed in me, and will deliv­er the help work­ing and mid­dle class fam­i­lies need.”

Glue­senkamp Perez and her sup­port­ers gath­ered at Loow­it Brew­ing in Van­cou­ver after the race was called to cel­e­brate hav­ing pulled off what is being called an upset, but what was in real­i­ty always a winnable race that sim­ply need­ed to be run by a strong can­di­date able to run a cam­paign based on iden­ti­ty and trust.

NPI’s cred­i­ble, accu­rate polling showed almost two months ago that Glue­senkamp Perez was com­pet­i­tive against Joe Kent and could win.

We were the only orga­ni­za­tion that inde­pen­dent­ly sur­veyed like­ly vot­ers in the dis­trict between the August 2022 Top Two elec­tion and this mon­th’s Novem­ber 2022 gen­er­al elec­tion and then pub­licly released our key findings.

“It won’t be easy… but a Demo­c­ra­t­ic vic­to­ry in WA-03 this cycle is an achiev­able objec­tive,” I wrote back in Sep­tem­ber when we assessed the polling data.

Marie Glue­senkamp Perez and her team have now proved our assess­ment cor­rect. They ran a strong cam­paign that was fresh and imag­i­na­tive — one that focused on a hope­ful and pos­i­tive vision for the future rather than the pol­i­tics of destruc­tion and dis­in­for­ma­tion that Repub­li­can Joe Kent represents.

Kent, inci­den­tal­ly, isn’t con­ced­ing — and no one expect­ed him to.

He tweet­ed today: “What the media says is irrel­e­vant, it’s anoth­er nar­ra­tive designed to stop vot­ers from bal­lot cur­ing & to force me to con­cede — not gonna hap­pen. We’re on the streets bal­lot cur­ing. The fight goes on while the talk­ing heads talk. Pow­er dry & check your ballot.”

It is true that pro­jec­tions have no legal sig­nif­i­cance. But Kent is behind by 4,621 votes and is not going to be able to catch up by get­ting bal­lots cured.

For the Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, the vic­to­ry is the excla­ma­tion mark on a midterm cycle that was anoth­er blue wave. The par­ty’s cap­ture of WA-08 was the sig­na­ture win of the 2018 midterms. This will undoubt­ed­ly be the sig­na­ture win of the 2022 midterms. It’s a pick­up that Democ­rats sore­ly need­ed in the incred­i­bly close bat­tle with the Repub­li­cans for a House majority.

“Planned Par­ent­hood is thrilled to con­grat­u­late Marie Glue­senkamp Perez on her vic­to­ry in WA-03. As a for­mer Planned Par­ent­hood patient, Marie under­stands the impor­tance of acces­si­ble, afford­able, high-qual­i­ty repro­duc­tive health care,” said Court­ney Nor­mand, Wash­ing­ton State Direc­tor at Planned Par­ent­hood Alliance Advo­cates, in a state­ment. “We know she will be a stead­fast cham­pi­on for abor­tion rights and repro­duc­tive health care access in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., and we look for­ward to work­ing with her to improve health care for all Washingtonians.”

NPI’s sur­vey found in Sep­tem­ber that a major­i­ty of like­ly vot­ers in the 3rd pre­ferred Glue­senkamp Perez’s posi­tion sup­port­ing repro­duc­tive rights, while only a third pre­ferred Joe Ken­t’s extreme posi­tion oppos­ing repro­duc­tive rights. We char­ac­ter­ized that find­ing as impor­tant to her chances of win­ning the race.

Rox­ana Norouzi of OneAm­er­i­ca called the win “the result of decades of orga­niz­ing and elec­toral work in south­west Wash­ing­ton.” Norouzi added: “In a race as close as this, every vot­er-to-vot­er con­ver­sa­tion mat­ters. As of right now, there are just over 5,000 votes between Marie and Kent–we con­tact­ed 20,000 vot­ers in the 3rd and helped close that gap.  Our door-to-door can­vass­ing, phone bank­ing and mail helped make immi­grants a sig­nif­i­cant and clear mar­gin of vic­to­ry for this race.”

NPI con­grat­u­lates Rep­re­sen­ta­tive-elect Marie Glue­senkamp Perez and all of her sup­port­ers on this incred­i­ble win. This is an era-defin­ing tri­umph that will go down in the annals of Wash­ing­ton State and Amer­i­can polit­i­cal his­to­ry. WA-03 has returned to hav­ing Demo­c­ra­t­ic rep­re­sen­ta­tion with a young Demo­c­rat who is pre­pared to work hard and pro­vide excel­lent con­stituent services.

We look for­ward to Marie’s swear­ing-in this Jan­u­ary, and to includ­ing her votes in our Last Week In Con­gress series in the 118th Congress.

POSTSCRIPT: Port­land tele­vi­sion sta­tions have run sto­ries about Glue­senkamp Perez’s vic­to­ry. Here’s one from KOIN and here’s one from KGW.

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