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Marie Perez defeats Joe Kent in latest humiliation for Donald Trump

Republican refuses to concede and says ‘fight goes on’

Andrew Buncombe
Sunday 13 November 2022 03:38 GMT
Democrat Marie Glusenkamp Perez says 'jet fuel' campaign has pulled ahead of Joe Kent

Marie Gluesenkamp Perez has beaten Trump-backed Republican Joe Kent in a win that represents a major upset for the Democrats and more humiliation for the former president.

Five days after voters went to the polls in the 2022 midterms and on the evening Democrats learned they had held the Senate, the Associated Press called the race for the 34-year-old, and local media described her win as “perhaps the most stunning political upset in the country this year”. Her oppponent, meanwhile, declined to concede and said the “fight would go on”.

“I am humbled and honoured by the vote of confidence the people of southwest Washington have put in me and my campaign. Right up to the end, far-away pundits and prognosticators said this race couldn’t be won,” Ms Perez said in a statement on Saturday evening.

“They dismissed the possibility that a moderate Democrat focused on prioritising the needs of this district over partisan point scoring could win in a rural, working class district.”

Both the Seattle Times and the New York Times had earlier called the race for Ms Perez, the owner of an auto-repair businesss in southern Washington state, about 150 south of Seattle

The win for Ms Perez, in her first campaign for elected office, puts more pressure on Republicans as they seek to secure enough votes to win a majority in the House of Representatives.

Meanwhile, Mr Kent was refusing to concede, saying his team was out trying to “cure” any mistakes on ballots of his supporters.

“What the media says is irrelevant, it’s another narrative designed to stop voters from ballot curing & to force me to concede – not gonna happen,” he tweeted.

“We’re on the streets ballot curing. The fight goes on while the talking heads talk. Power dry & check your ballot.”

Ahead of Tuesday’s midterms, there had been widesspread talk of a “red wave” that could allow Republicans to win control of both chambers of Congress. As the situation stood on Saturday evening, Democrats had 202 and 211 for the Republicans. Either party requires 218 for the majority, and to select the powerful Speaker of the House.

In the Senate, meanwhile, late on Saturday it was confirmed that Democrats had won continued control of the Senate after winning in Nevada.

It was perhaps the clearest indication that the red wave Republicans had been hoping for did not take place. Experts believe that while issues such as the faltering economy and Joe Biden’s modest approval rating were of concern to voters, there was anxiety about the scrapping of Roe v Wade, and worry about the continued lies spread about the 2020 results by GOP candidates, that had not shown up in polling.

If so, Washington’s largely rural third congressional district was a case in point. While Mr Kent, a former Green Beret whose wife was killed by an Isis bomb in Syria, adopted a hardline, Maga-infused agenda, calling for the impeachment of Mr Biden, Ms Perez focused on local issues.

Joe Kent to call for impeachment of ‘unfit’ Joe Biden

She also said the scrapping of Roe had been a “game-changer”.

“Many of us had questions as to whether or not women and Democrats and independents and moderate Republicans would sit on the couch in this race, or if they would show up and vote,” she toldThe Independent last month.

“And it’s clear that a lot of women are really on fire. And working to protect our rights.”

The district had been held by Republicans since 2010. However, incumbent Repulican Jaime Herrera-Beutler, who was re-elected five times, was among 10 GOP members of the House who voted for Donald Trump’s impeachment, following the events of Jan 6.

Mr Trump vowed revenge on all of them, including Liz Cheney, and backed primary challengers against those who did not drop out of politics.

Of the10, only one – Dan Newhouse, of Washington’s fourth congressional district – has been relected, while one other, David Valadao, is still fighting to return to his seat in California.

“At the outset of the general election campaign we said this race would be a bellwether for the direction of our politics and the strength of our democracy, and that remains true today,” Ms Perez said.

Joe Kent’s candidacy gave voice to some of the darkest impulses in our politics: white nationalism, xenophobia, and authoritarianism. Southwest Washington looked them straight in the eye and said no – not here, not now, not ever.”

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