Trump-backed Republican Joe Kent has nice hair but bad ideas, his Democratic opponent said, arguing the former Green Beret is too extreme for Washington state.
Less than 50 days before voters go to the polls in the midterm elections, Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez told a town hall that she was confident of defeating Kent because the issues she was focused on were of little interest to most voters. .
He said the “non-Maga Republicans” he spoke with were interested in issues like the cost of living, good health care, and getting a job that pays a living wage.
“And Joe Kent is here, spending a lot of time talking about how we should arrest [Dr Anthony] Fauci for murder, and how the Chinese invented climate change, and all these ideas that are not relevant to our daily lives,” he said.
“We could spend the whole time talking about why these conspiracy theories are not real. But in the end, they will not improve our quality of life. And that’s why they’re irrelevant to most voters.”
Ms. Gluesenkamp Perez, 36, an auto repair business owner in southwestern Washington state, is going head-to-head with Mr. Kent, after a hard-fought open primary in which the incumbent congresswoman Republican Jaime Herrera Beutler failed to make it to the November general election.
She had first been elected to Washington’s 3rd congressional district in 2010 and re-elected five times.
But after the January 6 riots, Herrera Beutler was one of 10 Republicans in the House of Representatives who voted to impeach Trump.
Trump vowed revenge, saying he would back the top 10 challengers who remained in politics. Kent, 42, was Trump’s pick for Washington’s 3rd congressional district.
He chose another hardline candidate, Loren Culp, to challenge Dan Newhouse, who also backed impeachment, in Washington’s 4th congressional district. But Newhouse made it through the August primary to face Democrat Doug White in November.
Gluesenkamp Pérez has tried to project himself as the kind of working-class American who should be more in Congress. Cook’s bipartisan political report changed the third party’s rating from “solid Republican” to “leaning Republican” after Mrs. Herrera Buetler was defeated.
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Instead, he says Kent, who has adopted a series of hard-line policies that include opposing abortion and building a border wall, has little interest in the problems of the district’s voters.
Mr. Kent’s website says: “I am a pro-life Christian. I will work tirelessly to protect the rights of unborn children. I will work to cut federal funding for abortion providers like Planned Parenthood.”
At the virtual town hall organized by the group Indivisible, which she says was “founded in response to Trump’s election,” Ms. Gluesenkamp Pérez said that another issue that was generating support was the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe vs. Wadeand the creation of a two-system nation, where women in half the country will have difficulty accessing abortion services.
“One of the really interesting things is that we’re seeing that party affiliation may be less important than whether or not you’re old enough to remember what illegal abortions look like,” she said.
“People who have that lived experience of what it looks like, they don’t want to go back. What transcends partisanship is believing in a woman’s right to determine what is the best path for her.”
“It is a slap in the face for someone to say that the government is the one that should make that decision for you. I can think of nothing more offensive than that level of government intrusion,” she added.
Neither Kent nor his spokesman immediately responded to a question from the independent on the comments of Ms. Gluesenkamp Perez.
Ms. Gluesenkamp Pérez was asked how she decided to run for the position. She said that she felt that Congress needed to have more diversity and not be so full of former doctors and lawyers.
He added that earlier this year, people in his neighborhood had Joe Kent signs in their yards instead of Ms. Herrra Beutler’s.
“I saw some YouTube videos of this guy and I realized, my God, you know, this is a guy with very bad ideas and very nice hair. And this could go south very, very easily,” he said.
“Congress needs to be more like America and we need more people working the trades, rural voters, young families” to get results, he said.
“So I thought I was the candidate, and I am the candidate who can stop Joe Kent,” she added.