A Latina flip: Marie Gluesenkamp Perez’s upset House victory in Washington
Perez beat out far-right candidate Joe Kent who beat moderate Republican Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler — who voted to impeach Trump — in the primaries.
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Self-described, independent-minded Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez scored an upset victory over MAGA candidate Joe Kent in Washington’s 3rd Congressional District, helping Democrats flip another House seat in a historically red district.
Democrats now hold eight of Washington’s 10 House seats.
“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,” Gluesenkamp Perez said in a statement Saturday, Nov. 12.
Kent has refused to concede the race and urged supporters on Twitter on Saturday night to check the status of their mail-in ballots. There are roughly 12,000 votes that still need to be counted, but the Associated Press said there is not enough to reverse his loss.
Perez, an auto shop owner and daughter of an immigrant won the district with a narrow margin with nearly 51% of the vote compared to 49% for Kent. Many have alluded to the GOP candidate’s ties with MAGA extremism to be what ultimately cost him the race.
Former President Donald Trump won the district in 2020 by four percentage points.
Republicans have dominated the seat for more than a decade.
It was held previously by Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler, who first was elected to represent the district in 2010. She was one of 10 House Republicans to vote in favor of impeachment for former President Trump. Indirectly or directly as a result, Herrera Beutler was ousted in the state's August primary by the far-right and Trump-endorsed Kent.
In a state that Democrats feared would vote Republican during these midterms proved to be the opposite as Perez’s win combined with Rep. Kim Schrier’s win over Republican Matt Larkin in Washington’s 8th Congressional District will help bolster Democrats' hopes of winning the House majority. Schrier beat out Larkin to win a third consecutive term. In 2018, she became the first Democrat to win that seat since its creation in the 1980s.
Perez’s 3rd Congressional District covers most of Western Washington in addition to being very near Portland, Oregon, where Perez co-owns an auto shop with her husband in a rural part of the suburbs across the Columbia River in Washington state. She touted support for abortion rights and access throughout her campaign in addition to climate change. Perez is self-described as not a “typical Democrat” in Congress. She is a gun owner, opposes a ban on assault rifles, but does support raising the age of purchase for such guns to 21.
Perez is the daughter of a Mexican immigrant and used her unique life experiences to relate to voters during her campaign run. She came out publicly about a miscarriage she went through back in 2020 that as a result left her and her husband having to go through protesters at a Planned Parenthood clinic just to be able to gain access to care. This was also after the Supreme Court overturn of Roe v. Wade.
As the mother of a young baby daughter now, and a small business owner, Perez said she understands the rising costs of child care, food, and just about everything else that a family needs to survive.
Some of the other issues she wants to address to help ease the pockets and lives of Washingtonians are supporting small businesses and worker’s rights, lowering healthcare, childcare and prescription drug costs. Additionally, she wants to invest in clean energy to help overturn the consequences of climate change and protect women’s access to abortion access and care.
“We won. I am humbled, honored, and grateful. I pledge to work every day to live up to the responsibility placed in me. I will defend our rights. I will protect our democracy. And I will deliver the help working and middle class families need,” Perez wrote on Twitter Saturday night following her victory.