How Perez beat Kent in CD3
Plus Democratic gains in the state House fade in late vote tallies
We’ll never know exactly which set of campaign tactics carried Democratic newcomer Marie Gluesenkamp Perez to her unlikely win in Washington’s 3rd Congressional District. But with a result this close, her win over MAGA Republican Joe Kent was one of those rare races where the subtleties of campaign strategy really matter.
Perez and her team came from nowhere to win a safe Republican district and consign Kent, an election denier with various bizarre political stances, to well-deserved obscurity. My former colleagues at The Associated Press called the race after determining her lead of fewer than 5,000 votes would hold up when the remaining votes are counted.
Here’s why you should care about this: It’s a remarkable coup for Democrats and a disaster for Republicans. With an incumbent’s advantage, Perez could hold a seat tailored for the GOP for the next decade or more. It’s still possible she could be the 218th vote for a Democratic Speaker of the House in January.
So how did Perez’s campaign get here? How did they erase the 54,000-vote advantage that lame-duck Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler enjoyed over a better-known Democratic opponent just two years ago? It so happens I know some of the folks involved, so I asked.