Kent disputes Lewallen’s statements
Republican candidates Joe Kent and Leslie Lewallen will face off for the 3rd Congressional District seat next year. But neither is waiting that long to begin trading barbs.
Kent, who lives in Yacolt, lost to Marie Gluesenkamp Perez in 2022 with 49.31 percent of votes compared to 50.14 percent for Gluesenkamp Perez.
In a recent interview with The Columbian, Lewallen said ““I think Joe had his shot in 2022,” Lewallen said. “He ousted an incumbent of 12 years, and he lost and there hasn’t been one federal or statewide rematch that’s resulted in a flipped outcome in the last 30 years.”
Kent seems to have taken exception to those comments. According to research analysis provided by Erin Van Natta, communications manager for Kent’s campaign, three Republican candidates in Florida, New York and California lost to Democrats in 2018 but won in 2020.
“Joe Kent lost by less than all Republican rematch winners in their first election,” the research states. “While all of these Republicans lost by between 6.0 percent and 1.8 percent in 2018, they all went on to win in 2020. In 2022, Joe Kent lost by just 0.8 percent.”
Lewallen isn’t backing down though. The Camas city councilor said Kent is fighting a losing battle.
“In the interview, I was making a point that in the last 20 years, not a single rematch for federal or statewide office has ever produced a flipped outcome in Washington State. Joe Kent is comparing apples to oranges in Florida and New York – places where they don’t have a top two primary like our state does.” Lewallen said in an email Wednesday.
The research provided by the Kent campaign included information on campaign fundraising, claiming Kent has received more campaign contributions than all Republican rematch winners by this point in the campaign.
According to the Federal Elections Commission, Kent has raised just over $630,000 in 2023. Lewallen has raised about $220,000.
“Kent’s loss in 2022 proves that he does not represent this district. I’m the only candidate who can beat Gluesenkamp Perez, the statistics don’t lie,” Lewallen said.
— Shari Phiel