Democrat Gluesenkamp Perez flips 3rd District

Skamania County auto shop owner says she’s ‘humbled, honored’ by win

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Democratic nominee for Washington's Third Congressional District Marie Gluesenkamp Perez speaks to supporters Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, at the Clark County Democrats election night watch party at the Downtown Vancouver Hilton. (Contributed photo courtesy of Taylor Balkom/The Columbian)

Washington’s Third Congressional District will have a Democratic representative for the first time in more than a decade.

Democratic candidate Marie Gluesenkamp Perez won her race against Republican Joe Kent this week, flipping the district away from Republican control for the first time since Democratic Rep. Brian Baird left the office in early 2011.

As of Tuesday, Nov. 15, with an estimated 3,300 Clark County ballots remaining to be counted, Perez led Kent by more than 3,200 votes, and had won 50.22% of the vote (157,505) to Kent’s 49.21% (154,343).

Perez proved more popular than Kent with voters in Clark County, the Third District’s most populous area, where she led Kent by 11 percentage points (55.17% to 44.21%) and had received 111,234 votes compared to Kent’s 89,147 votes, as of Nov. 15 .

Perez and Kent emerged as the top vote-getters in the Aug. 2 ranked-choice primary election, bumping longtime Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler — one of 10 Republican representatives who voted in 2021 to impeach then-President Trump following the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol building — out of the running for the seat she has held since 2011.

Kent, a former Green Beret backed by former president Donald Trump, ran on a far-right platform that touted anti-immigration policies; said he would push to “get the federal government out of our schools” and “prevent Planned Parenthood, the 1619 Project and critical race theory” from entering the curriculum of our schools; and highlighted his personal, anti-choice views on abortion.

Perez, on the other hand, a fifth-generation Washingtonian who owns an auto shop in Skamania County, ran on a platform that highlighted her working-class roots, pro-choice beliefs and advocacy for affordable and accessible health care and child care.

Perez told CNN this week, following her election win: “I’m one of the working moms that can’t find daycare. I brought my baby to work at the auto shop. (And) I think we need to start electing people that look like America.”

On Nov. 13, less than one day after her race was called, Perez was in Washington, D.C., getting ready for her new role as a U.S. Congresswoman.

“I am humbled, honored and grateful,” Perez wrote on her Twitter page following her win on Nov. 12. “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.”

Republicans maintain leads in 17th District

Other results this week showed that Republican candidates outperformed their Democratic opponents in the state’s 17th Legislative District.

Republican incumbent Rep. Paul Harris will likely keep his 17th Legislative District, Position 2 seat. As of Nov. 15, Harris was beating his Democratic opponent Joe Kear by more than nine percentage points (54.5% to 45.32%).

In the race for the 17th Legislative District’s Position 1 seat, Republican Kevin Waters was leading his Democratic opponent, Terri Niles, by more than 4,300 votes (53.07% to 46.77%).

Voter turnout in Clark County was 62% with 203,988 ballots counted as of Nov. 15. The election results will be certified Nov. 29. To see more local election results, visit