2024 3rd Congressional District campaigns warming up

Though Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, D-Skamania, has only been in Congress for a few months, the 2024 United States election is nearly a year and a half away, and for Washington’s 3rd Congressional District, a rematch between two familiar candidates is looking likely.

Though Perez has not officially announced a 2024 campaign, preparation for next November is underway in her office — starting with a new campaign manager.

Annika Albrecht announced her new position as Perez’ campaign manager on LinkedIn Friday. She previously interned for Oregon ex-Governor Kate Brown and Sen. Jeff Merkley, and more recently served as the finance director and campaign manager for U.S. Rep. Tom O’Halleran, who represented Arizona’s 1st Congressional District from 2019 to 2023.

“I’m happy to share that I’m starting a new position as Campaign Manager for Congresswoman Marie Gluesenkamp Perez!” Albrecht said in the announcement. “I’m thrilled to be working on the most targeted House race in the country and to be moving back home to the PNW!”

The race for Washington’s 3rd Congressional District will likely be an interesting rematch between Perez and Republican candidate Joe Kent, who announced his campaign bid in January earlier this year.

Perez has spent much of her time in Southwest Washington, visiting businesses, educational programs and workers groups. In the last two weeks, she hosted multiple roundtables and meetings around the district to hear from farmers and leaders on the upcoming 2023 Farm Bill.

Kent has also been making public appearances — but not in Southwest Washington.

On March 30, Kent hosted a fundraiser with Donald Trump Jr. in Florida, with tickets starting at $500.

In the last few weeks, Kent has appeared on the Tucker Carlson show, Real America with Dan Ball and Bannon’s War Room. On his April 14 appearance on Bannon’s War Room, he discussed American involvement in the war in Ukraine.

In early May, Kent will speak at Washington state’s 2023 Republican Action Conference in Kennewick, alongside five other speakers, including Liz Harrington, Donald Trump’s spokesperson.

“Joe’s candidacy for US Congress is focused on restoring common sense Republican values and defeating the woke extremist Democrat Congresswoman Marie Perez,” the conference webpage states.

Perez has a different approach.

“I’m responsible to you all,” Perez said at her first town hall in Stevenson this year. “I’m here doing in-person town halls because I think that’s what good governance looks like when you are accountable.”

Three nonpartisan political analyst groups — The Cook Political Report, Sabato’s Crystal Ball, and Inside Elections — have all deemed next year’s 3rd Congressional District race a toss-up.

In 18 months, we’ll see which strategy Southwest Washington prefers.

— Carlos Fuentes

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