League of Women Voters: Joe Kent campaign violated debate rules

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The League of Women Voters Clark County said this week that Republican Congressional candidate Joe Kent’s campaign has violated the League’s ground rules for the League’s 3rd Congressional District debate, held Saturday, Oct. 15.   

The campaigns of both Kent and opponent Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez agreed in advance not to use edited video for campaign purposes, said Clark County League president Nancy Halvorson. 

But three posts uploaded after the debate on the Joe Kent for WA-3 Twitter account feature heavily edited portions of the video. One post linked to an 11-minute interview with Republican political strategist Steve Bannon that opened with more than two minutes of juxtaposed, unflattering close-ups of Perez from the debate. 

Bannon referred to the edited video as “powerful” when he began his interview with Kent. 

The Twitter account on Sunday also featured a 59-second clip of Kent’s closing statement from the date.  

On Monday, Oct. 17, the same account featured an 82-second composite of clips from the debate video. The latter included splices of audio and video of President Joe Biden and of the debate moderator cautioning the audience to refrain from outbursts. 

Kent’s campaign agreed to the ground rules, which stated:  “Any campaign use of the recording must include the full debate. No candidate will be allowed to edit the footage for campaign purposes.”

“The League’s goal always is to provide voters with information about candidates and issues so they can make informed decisions,” Halvorson said. “Our organization has a long history of being a valuable resource for voters but we do not exist to provide fodder for political campaigns.” 

The League asked Kent’’ campaign to remove the posts but it had not done so by Tuesday morning. 

The Vancouver debate was hosted by the League of Women Voters of Clark, Cowlitz, Lewis and Klickitat-Skamania counties.  It was sponsored by five local news outlets – the Chinook Observer in Ilwaco, The Chronicle in Centralia, The Columbian in Clark County, the Daily News in Longview and The Skamania County Pioneer.

Journalists from the five newspapers worked with League members to prepare questions for the candidates.