Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez has flipped Washington’s 3rd Congressional District after new vote tallies from Clark and Thurston counties Saturday show her fending off a late comeback attempt from Republican Joe Kent.
The race was called by the Associated Press, Seattle Times, New York Times, CNN, ABC and NBC late Saturday afternoon, with Perez leading by 4,621 votes. Perez had 154,169 votes, or 50.47 percent, while Kent had 149,548 votes, or 48.96 percent. Write-in votes accounted for 1,238 votes, or 0.62 percent of the 199,938 votes counted so far.
Perez, an auto shop owner and Skamania County resident, declared victory in a statement, in which she called the race a “bellwether for the direction of our politics and the strength of our democracy.”
“I am humbled and honored by the vote of confidence the people of Southwest Washington have put in me and my campaign,” Perez wrote in the statement. “Right up to the end, far-away pundits and prognosticators said this race couldn’t be won. They dismissed the possibility that a moderate Democrat focused on prioritizing the needs of this district over partisan point scoring could win in a rural, working class district.”
Kent, who made it to the general election with a surge of late support in the August primary, has not seen a similar surge against Perez. On Saturday, he gained only 338 votes on Perez, who still led by 4,621, according to the Secretary of State’s website.
Kent was endorsed by former President Donald Trump and outpolled long-time Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler, who voted to impeach Trump, in the primary. He planned to stage a similar comeback in this election.
In a response to a text asking if the campaign would comment Saturday, Kent’s campaign manager texted back a one-word answer: “Nope.”
On Twitter, Kent noted the slight gains in Saturday’s tally and said “this is not over.”
“What the media says is irrelevant, its another narrative designed to stop voters from ballot curing and to force me to concede — not gonna happen,” Kent said on Twitter. ”We’re on the streets ballot curing. The fight goes on while the talking heads talk.”
Kent has stated in previous interviews with The Columbian and other news outlets that he would accept the results of the election, despite claiming the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent.
Clark County — the largest county in the district — still has 5,000 ballots to tally after Saturday, according to Auditor Greg Kimsey. The next update will come at 4 p.m. Monday.
Updates are also expected Monday from Cowlitz, Lewis and Pacific counties, which have around 5,000 ballots left combined. More ballots remain in Thurston County, though the exact amount isn’t known.
Clark County sheriff race
John Horch remained the Clark County sheriff-elect after Saturday’s update with 102,485 votes, or 54.87 percent of the vote. Vancouver police Cpl. Rey Reynolds received 84,291 votes, or 45.13 percent, in his favor. With only 5,000 votes left to count, a Reynolds upset was out of reach.
Horch celebrated his win in a statement thanking his family, friends, supporters and current Sheriff Chuck Atkins, who endorsed Horch and appointed him to be the agency’s chief criminal deputy in 2019.
“We have a lot of work to do. The public has made it clear they are concerned about crime and public safety in our community, and I share those same concerns. I am confident that together, we will make Clark County a safer place to live and raise our families,” Horch said in the statement. “I have already started working on my transition plan for taking office and will announce my executive team member selections once this plan has been finalized.”
Reynolds’ campaign declined The Columbian’s request for comment Saturday on whether he would concede.
In the 18th’s Legislative District race for Position 1, Republican Stephanie McClintock has defeated Democrat John Zingale. McClintock had 52.42 percent, or 33,152 votes, and Zingale had 47.58 percent, or 30,091 votes.
For Position 2, Republican Greg Cheney won with 54.77 percent, or 34,710 votes, over Democrat Duncan Camacho, who had 45.23 percent, or 28,667 votes.
The 17th District Position 1 seat was sealed up by Republican Kevin Waters, with 53.12 percent or 35,963, to Democratic candidate Terri Niles’s 46.72 percent, or 31,631 votes.
The Position 2 seat has been won by Republican Paul Harris, with 54.56 percent, or 36,914, votes over Democrat Joe Kear. Kear received 30,615 votes, or 45.25 percent.
Clark County Council races
Glen Yung received 16,334 votes, or 57.79 percent, to defeat challenger Hector Hinojosa, who received 11,931, or 42.21 percent of the vote for the Position 1 seat on the Clark County Council.
Michelle Belkot defeated Chartisha Robert for Clark County Council District 2. On Saturday, Belkot totaled 19,525 votes, or 54.83 percent. Roberts earned 16,087 votes, or 45.17 percent.
Although Don Benton continued slight gains on Sue Marshal for the District 5 seat, Marshall has prevailed with 22,797 votes, or 51.56 percent compared with Benton’s 21,416 votes, or 48.44 percent.
Clark County Elections officials are also reminding voters that they have until Nov. 28 to correct any rejected ballots. Signature update forms were sent to anyone whose ballot was missing a signature or had a signature that didn’t match the record. Voters can return the form by 5 p.m. Nov. 28 to still have their ballots counted.
While some candidate campaigns are contact people about their rejected ballots, the Election’s Office warns people to either bring the form into the office themselves, mail it or give it to someone trusted.
Voters can check the status of their ballots online at VoteWA.gov.