Republican Joe Kent announced today he will run in 2024 to represent Southwest Washington in Congress after having just lost his bid to secure the same seat in November.
According to his statement, Kent’s decision to vie for the position stems from his criticisms related to Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, D-Stevenson, and her voting record to date.
“But we are only beginning to learn who our Democrat Congresswoman Marie Perez really is,” the statement read. “In her first three votes, the moderate mask has fallen off and revealed a woke extremist.”
To this, Perez maintained she is upholding her commitments made on the campaign trail and argued Kent is “back with the same bad ideas.”
“I am keeping my promise to be Southwest Washington’s independent voice in Congress,” she wrote in a statement to The Columbian. “I hired a bipartisan staff, I voted against a $114 billion increase to the deficit that Joe Kent supports, I voted with Republicans to take on foreign competition from China, and I worked with former Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler to pass a bill to return federal forest land to Skamania County. I am delivering for our district and won’t be distracted by clickbait politics.”
Perez began voting on legislation Monday, two days after she was sworn into the 118th Congress. She has cast five votes at the time of this publication, all of which are aligned with her fellow Democratic House members’ take on legislation.
On her first official day as a House member, Perez voted against a rules package for the 118th Congress, which included Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s concessions needed to gain his House speakership, as well as a bill rescinding a chunk of Internal Revenue Service funding in the Inflation Reduction Act.
Most recently, Perez opposed a bill that would establish a special panel of the Committee on the Judiciary to explore the “weaponization” of the federal government, which focuses on agencies, such as the FBI, that are investigating Donald Trump. She voted in favor of legislation to create a select committee investigating competition between the U.S. and China.
These entries and bill information, as well as Perez’s future votes and legislative priorities, can be found at https://gluesenkampperez.house.gov/about/votes-and-legislation.
Kent officially conceded the congressional race on Dec. 21 after the results of a districtwide machine recount, conducted upon his request, further solidified his loss. In both his concession and candidacy announcement, Kent predicted the key to his success will be increasing voter turnout in the future.
He pitched, “To defeat (Perez), we must unify the centrist and right-leaning voters of the Republican Party, and we need to make sure all of us turn out to vote.”