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News / Politics / Clark County Politics

3rd District congressional contest beginning to heat up

Republican Kent, Democrat Hennrich to debate Friday on 'The Lars Larson Show'

By Lauren Ellenbecker, Columbian staff writer
Published: November 17, 2021, 6:03am

Campaign signs for the Nov. 2 election may still be coming down, but a new crop of political advertising is sprouting as the race for Washington’s 3rd Congressional District moves into a new phase.

It’s not just campaign signs. Campaigns are cranking up their efforts to solicit donations and candidates are starting to debate each other, nearly nine months before the Aug. 2 primary.

Joe Kent, R-Yacolt, is set to debate Brent Hennrich, D-Vancouver, on “The Lars Larson Show” at 1 p.m. Friday on KXL 101 and online at larslarson.com.

Larson will ask each candidate questions pertaining to policy. There will be allotted times for opening and closing statements, as well as for responses and rebuttals from the candidates. Hennrich will be participating remotely and it is unknown whether Kent will be in the studio.

Kent, who received an endorsement from Donald Trump, has been outspoken about unseating 10-year incumbent Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, after she voted to impeach Trump for inciting the Capitol riots on Jan. 6.

The focal point of Kent’s campaign is to keep “America First.” He’s running on enforcing strict immigration control, modernizing the military and dismantling COVID-related mandates, according to his website.

Kent was unavailable for comment.

Conversely, Hennrich is running on expanding access to equitable health care, alleviating the consequences of the climate crisis, and creating a stronger economy through increasing the minimum wage. Hennrich said he is participating in the conservative talk show debate so he can reach constituents within the district.

“I hope people listen and form their opinions on both Joe and I based on what we say and how we act — not what our party affiliation is,” Hennrich said.

Heidi St. John is still in the running for the congressional seat after previously stating her intention to drop out if another candidate was endorsed by Trump. She prides herself as being an involved conservative activist who fights for medical and educational freedom for parents, according to her campaign site.

St. John was unavailable for comment.

Similarly to St. John, Herrera Beutler said she would endorse policies that represent parents’ best interests in their child’s schooling. In accordance with her campaigning, Herrera Beutler also ramped up fundraising in a newsletter addressed to her supporters, asking them to chip in any dollar amount.

Campaign financial totals from late September show Herrera Beutler has raised more than $1.7 million, with Kent trailing with more than $1 million. St. John has accumulated about $334,500 and Hennrich has about $25,260.

There are nine official candidates running for the congressional seat, meaning they registered with a federal or state campaign finance agency, according to Ballotpedia. Among them, Kent, Hennrich, St. John and Wadi Yakour have been the most vocal. Since the registration, Yakour publicly withdrew his candidacy.

Columbian staff writer