New Poll: Dead Heat in Washington’s Third between Gluesenkamp-Perez and Kent


Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp-Perez defied the pundits in 2022, eking out a win over MAGA Republican Joe Kent by a margin of fewer than 4,000 votes in Southwest Washington’s Third Congressional District.

She set a path to “get shit done” for a section of the state neglected by Gov. Jay Inslee and other high-profile Democratic officeholders. She has signed onto bipartisan proposals and tended to constituent needs, witness a town hall on the Farm Bill in the GOP bastion of Lewis County.

It’s paying off. A poll of 649 likely November voters, released Monday, showed a dead heat between MGP and Kent, who is running again. The survey was taken by Public Policy Polling for the Northwest Progressive Institute. The poll pegged support for Kent at 46 percent, with 45 percent supporting Gluesenkamp-Perez. Only 9 percent were undecided, a reflection of the polarized country.

Two years ago, with the National FiveThirtyEight website pegging Kent’s chances of winning at 97 percent, a PPP poll showed the race within three points. The poll unlocked donations to Gluesenkamp-Perez, who had been snubbed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

The Kent/MGP race has wider implications. As pointed out by Andrew Villeneuve, executive director of Northwest Progressive Institute, the path to controlling Congress passes through the Pacific Northwest. Republicans have targeted two Democrats, Gluesenkamp-Perez and Alaska Rep. Mary Peltola. Both represent constituencies carried by Trump in 2016 and 2020. In exchange, the Democrats are seeking to flip one and possibly two GOP-held Oregon seats.

The race to run the House will be a very near thing. The Republicans currently control 222 House seats to 213 for the Democrats,

A Washington House member, Rep. Susan DelBene, now chairs the DCCC. She hosted a recent Seattle fundraiser for endangered women colleagues. The party’s leadership has also understood MGP’s strategy of cosponsoring and often voting for bills with Republican colleagues.

Gluesenkamp-Perez won her seat in 2022 by running about five points ahead of Sen. Patty Murray, also on the ballot. She wasn’t going to carry Lewis or Cowlitz Counties, but would not allow a landslide to Kent. She won the race by carrying populous Clark County.

Kent, a former Green Beret, beat six-term Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler in the 2022 primary, who was demonized as one of the 10 House Republicans voting to impeach Trump after the January 6, 2021 Capitol insurrection. Kent has described imprisoned Capitol occupiers as “political prisoners.” He has embraced conspiracy theories over causes of the COVID-19 outbreak and called for prosecution of Dr. Anthony Fauci. The state Republican Party had endorsed Kent. A companion on the campaign trail, state Rep. Jim Walsh, is now Republican State Chair.

Given political leanings of her district, and likelihood Trump will carry it again, the dead-even poll numbers are good news for MGP. Gluesenkamp-Perez is showing there is still room for a moderate in the state’s body politic.

Joel Connelly
Joel Connelly
I worked for Seattle Post-Intelligencer from 1973 until it ceased print publication in 2009, and from 2009 to 6/30/2020. During that time, I wrote about 9 presidential races, 11 Canadian and British Columbia elections‎, four doomed WPPSS nuclear plants, six Washington wilderness battles, creation of two national Monuments (Hanford Reach and San Juan Islands), a 104 million acre Alaska Lands Act, plus the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area.


  1. Thanks Joel. What are you hearing about the race for Cathy McMorris Rodgers’s seat in Fifth District of Eastern Washington? It seems Spokane is a pale blue island in a sea of blood red. Do any of the Democratic candidates have a chance of winning that seat? Spokane is taking the brunt in E WA of the exodus of women from Idaho and other red, right-to-life-only-in-womb states for reproductive health care. How do you see this race developing? Many thanks for your reports Joel.

  2. I also thank you for this. I was an avid observer and supporter of Gluesenkamp-Perez in her election bid. She is exactly the kind of Democrat whom we need more of in order to win over working class people. But I am also writing to share that not only the DNCC, but five-thirty-eight, as you noted, got the race completely wrong. And Emily’s List also snubbed Gluesenkamp-Perez—and never replied to my efforts to reach them during her campaign—but now that she’s in the House, they’re more than happy to jump in front of that parade. Dems need to see their future when it’s right in front of them; when it comes in the form of a female, pro-choice candidate who understands and speaks to the needs of small business and the working class. Wake up! And if your polling is insufficient, admitting it and saying nothing is a whole lot better than being dead wrong.

  3. Speaking of elections, is there a practical realistic path to replacing Jayapal with someone better?

    (She moved into my District after she got elected. So she probably wouldn’t mind moving back out.)


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