Kent’s ties to Bannon cause confusion

Third Congressional District candidate Joe Kent’s relentless support of Steve Bannon continues to raise eyebrows, particularly as the latter faces charges for duping MAGA donors years ago.

Bannon, former Donald Trump advisor, pleaded not guilty on Thursday for charges of money laundering, conspiracy and fraud linked to fundraising for the “We Build the Wall” campaign. The 2020 federal case was upended when Trump pardoned Bannon but was rebooted as a state-level indictment in New York.

“The leftist administrative state is coming after Bannon because he is providing the platform for mobilizing our populist uprising,” Kent, R-Yacolt, tweeted late Thursday morning.

Although Bannon promised all the donations would be used to create a southern U.S. border wall, he was involved in channeling hundreds of thousands of dollars to two others participating in the scheme, according to reporting by the Associated Press. The two involved pleaded guilty to federal charges.

Kent, who makes frequent appearances on “Bannon’s War Room” podcast, continues to stand by Bannon, asserting that he is a “political prisoner.” As his campaign advances toward the November general election, Kent continues to morph national hot button issues, including Bannon’s legal fiasco, into vehicles to poke at and rally against “the establishment.”

“They can’t stop us, their attacks only make us stronger. We are winning, stay engaged & keep up the steady pressure,” Kent’s tweet read.

Yet this devotion is making some people following the congressional race question the candidate’s ties to Bannon. Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez’s response to her challenger echoed opposition found in the chain of replies to his post.

“(Standing with) The guy that just defrauded his own supporters?” she tweeted.

Roll Call, a nonpartisan newspaper covering Capitol Hill, reported that Kent’s staunch opposition to “the establishment,” or politicians prioritizing self-interest over the public through policy, may be dwindling.

The candidate is anticipated to spend three days at the Capitol Hill Club to meet with donors and lobbyists for 30 minutes at a time, none of whom have been identified. In the email invitation, Kent was coined as the “next Congressman from Washington’s Third District,” Roll Call reported.

Federal Election Commission reports show that Kent has the largest war chest out of the two candidates vying for the congressional seat. As of July 13, he has raised a total of more than $2 million compared to Perez’s $240,000. Still, candidates’ fundraising efforts have only swelled since the quarterly report was posted, as Perez recently announced she raised $600,000 in August alone.

The upcoming filing deadline for financial disclosures is Oct. 15.

Lauren Ellenbecker

Lauren Ellenbecker

Lauren Ellenbecker is a politics reporter for The Columbian.

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