Tuesday, February 7, 2023
Feb. 7, 2023

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Final results show Perez beat Kent by 2,629 votes in 3rd Congressional District race

No official word if Yacolt Republican will challenge outcome

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:

Counties’ final election results are in and maintain that Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez will represent Washington’s 3rd Congressional District, despite Republican Joe Kent’s efforts to remedy his loss through ballot curing.

Ballot tallies on Tuesday showed Perez had 160,314 votes, or 50.14 percent, while Kent had 157,685 votes, 49.31 percent. This leaves a margin of 2,629 votes, or 0.83 percent — circumventing an automatic recount, which only occurs if the difference in totals is less than one-half of 1 percent and fewer than 2,000 votes.

Both Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties, which have no outstanding ballots left to process, are scheduled to finalize results by 5 p.m. Wednesday.

County canvassing boards certified election results Tuesday, which the secretary of state must certify by Dec. 8.

In a statement Friday, Kent, of Yacolt, said he would pursue an optional recount, something he spent a brief period fundraising for in the days leading to election certification.

“In order to ensure the integrity of the election in Washington’s 3rd Congressional District, we are preparing to fund the optional recount that is afforded us by law,” his campaign tweeted.

The state Legislature established a security deposit amount of 25 cents per ballot, or $79,939.75 for the 319,759 ballots cast in the race, for a hand recount or 15 cents per ballot, or $47,963.85, for a machine recount. A date for a recount will be announced after the request is received.

A spokesperson for the Washington secretary of state’s office said it is unlikely for vote counts to change significantly after counties certify their results, but recounts may slightly affect these numbers.

Perez, of Skamania, has already attended a new member orientation in Washington, D.C., to meet her future House colleagues and learn the “nuts and bolts” of her position. Elected representatives are scheduled to take their oath of office in January.

In a recent interview with Steve Bannon on his “War Room” podcast, Kent shared ballot curing updates matched with skepticism surrounding election processes, declaring something was “afoot.” He told Bannon, “We’re also gearing up for a legal fight.”

The Kent campaign did not respond to The Columbian’s request for comment regarding how much money they raised for the recount nor whether they will pursue further litigation following the results.

“As I said on the campaign trail, I will accept the eventual outcome of this election as determined by the Secretary of State, and my campaign will continue to work to ensure that the final count is as accurate as possible,” Kent wrote on Friday.

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