Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez wins key House seat in Washington state

Gluesenkamp Perez's victory over Trump-backed far-right candidate Joe Kent helped boost the party's hopes of maintaining a majority in the House. Democrats have won a second key election in Washington state's House of Representatives — an open seat in a conservative region that has long shunned the party.

Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, an auto shop owner who describes herself as an independent-minded Democrat, won against Joe Kent, a far-right former "America First" Green Beret backed by former president Donald Trump, in the south-western district of Washington's third congress in Saturday.

Combined with Rep. Kim Schrier's re-election to what Democrats fear is a vulnerable seat, Gluesenkamp Perez's win helped boost the party's hopes of maintaining a majority in the House.

"I am humbled and honored by the vote of confidence that the people of Southwest Washington have given me and my campaign," Gluesenkamp Perez said in a statement.

The third district, which narrowly voted for Trump in 2020, has been represented for more than a decade by Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler. But he failed to qualify for the state's top two primaries after angering conservatives with his vote to impeach Trump following an attack on the US Capitol by his supporters.

Schrier survived Republican Matt Larkin's challenge to win a third term in the eighth district, which stretches from the wealthy former city of Seattle in the east across the Cascade Mountains to garden country in central Washington. Schrier, a pediatrician, in 2018 became the first Democrat to win the seat since its founding in the early 1980s.

"I don't know which party will control Congress, but it's a race like me — sitting on the edge of a knife — that's turning it around one way or another," Schrier told the Associated Press. "If more of them turn in this direction, it might mean we have a majority and set the agenda."

By reversing the third district, which Democrats have not controlled since former deputy Brian Baird retired in 2010, the party will now have eight of the 10 seats in Washington's Congress. Herrera Beutler won 22% of the vote in the primaries, and how her electorate is divided between Gluesenkamp Perez and Kent may be the deciding factor in the race.

Gluesenkamp Perez, who owns an auto shop with her husband just across the Columbia River in Portland, Oregon, says that as a small business owner living in a rural part of the district, she is more in tune with voters than Kent, who has repeatedly had to explain his ties to wing extremists. right.

Gluesenkamp Perez supports abortion access and policies to fight climate change, but also describes himself as a gun owner who opposes the assault rifle ban, although he supports raising the buying age for such weapons to 21. Democrat” in Congress, he said.

Kent, a former Green Beret who is a regular on cable TV and conservative podcasts, has called for the impeachment of president Joe Biden and an investigation into the 2020 election. He has also railed against the Covid-19 shutdown and vaccine mandates and has called for defunding the FBI following a March search of Trump's home. -a-Lago for classified documents.

In the eighth district, Schrier emphasized the results he had achieved, including helping secure money for road projects, rural broadband access and police body cameras. She also stressed that as the only female doctor in Congress to support abortion rights, she was a bulwark against Republican efforts to limit abortion nationwide following the US supreme court's decision to overturn Roe v Wade. He called Larkin's opposition to abortion rights a disqualification.

Larkin is a lawyer and former Washington attorney general who works for his family's company, which makes parts for water pipes. Unlike the more extreme Republican candidates, Larkin said Biden was legitimately elected, though he also noted that.

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