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Hispanic Caucus endorses Latina in newly competitive Washington district

Marie Gluesenkamp Perez. Photo courtesy BOLD PAC

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus campaign arm on Wednesday announced its endorsement of Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, a Washington Democrat running in a traditionally moderate Republican district against a pro-Trump Republican.

Bold PAC, the Hispanic Caucus’s political group, first made waves in 2022 with its staunch support of another Latina in the Pacific Northwest, Andrea Salinas, who won a primary in Oregon against a better-funded candidate.

“We’re excited to announce our enthusiastic support for Marie Gluesenkamp Perez in Washington State’s 3rd Congressional District. Marie is a mother and small business owner who really understands the struggles that thousands of families in her district are facing, and her commitment to delivering real results for them is exactly the kind of leadership we need in Washington, D.C.,” said Bold PAC Chairman Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.).

Gluesenkamp Perez is running in an unpredictable race, in a district that’s been held since 2010 by Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R), a moderate who voted for former President Trump’s second impeachment after the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection.

Herrera Beutler lost her primary under Washington’s jungle primary system, where candidates of all parties face off and the top two advance to the general election.

Gluesenkamp Perez, who was outspent by three Republican contenders, came in first place in the primary.

Joe Kent, an America First Republican who challenged Herrera Beutler in part because of her vote in Trump’s Jan. 6 impeachment, won the Republican nomination by coming in second.

“This is a man who thinks Loren Culp is our governor,” Gluesenkamp Perez said of Kent, referring to the GOP candidate who lost to Gov. Jay Inslee (D) in 2020.

“I mean, he wants to dismantle mail-in voting. He wants to ban all immigration for 20 years. You know, his priorities include impeaching [President] Biden, and [Vice President] Harris. You know, he wants to have an investigation into [National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director] Anthony Fauci,” Gluesenkamp Perez added.

“I don’t know any voters that are still talking about arresting Fauci. Look at gas prices, look at what it’s like to get in the housing market. I mean, child care and workforce participation. These are the things that people really care about in this district. It’s not an internet chat room, it’s people’s lives.”

The Hill has reached out to Kent’s campaign for comment.

During the primary, Kent outspent Gluesenkamp Perez nearly 10-to-one.

Still, Washington’s 3rd District is rated by the Cook Political Report as “lean Republican,” and nearly twice as many voters chose Republican candidates in the primary than Democrats.

Gluesenkamp Perez told The Hill that many of the voters who picked Herrera Beutler and Heidi St. John, the other competitive Republican in the primary, did so in opposition to Kent’s brand of Trumpist conservatism.

“Comparing this race to past races, it’s clear that there’s a lot of strategic voting to try and help Herrera Beutler make it through the primaries, which ultimately wasn’t effective,” said Gluesenkamp Perez.

And Gluesenkamp Perez added that the district’s demographics are changing, with an influx of residents from Portland, Ore., likely swaying the voter base left.

The 3rd Congressional District straddles the Columbia River on the border between Washington and Oregon, and its largest voting base is in the city of Vancouver in Clark County, across the river from Portland.

In recent years, high real estate prices in Portland have driven some residents to Vancouver, a short commute away.

Still, the district also spans rural areas that have a large population of people who work in agriculture, many of them Hispanics.

“I’m the first candidate nominated to this congressional seat that’s not from Clark County, that is a rural American and certainly a rural Latina,” said Gluesenkamp Perez.

The rural parts of the district hold some similarities to its neighbor to the northeast, a district that had a similar primary.

In the 4th District, Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) faced a stronger-than-usual showing from a Democrat and a challenge from the right from Culp.

Newhouse, who also voted for Trump’s Jan. 6 impeachment, edged out Culp to win that district’s nomination and enter the general election as a heavy favorite for reelection.

Gluesenkamp Perez said that her district’s choice between her and a pro-Trump Republican presents an unexpected opportunity for Democrats, lauding Bold PAC for its endorsement.

“It’s encouraging in recognition that this is one of the best pickup opportunities for House Dems in the entire country. And building this coalition, building partnerships, is exactly how we’re going to do this,” she said.

Tags Bold PAC Hispanic Caucus Jaime Herrera Beutler Marie Gluesenkamp Perez Ruben Gallego Trump Washington House race

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