Refusing to concede following election results

Nearly a week after Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez flipped the 3rd Congressional District, Republican Joe Kent has refused to concede despite the math solidifying his loss.

After multiple news outlets called Perez’s victory on Nov. 12, the Washington Secretary of State office’s continued updates only confirm her lead over Kent

As of early Friday afternoon, Perez had 159,394 votes, 50.17 percent, and Kent had 156,516 votes, or 49.27 percent

Although a concession isn’t legally required, the voluntary gesture signals to voters that election results should be accepted. Without it, the elected candidate’s transition into the official role can be a little bumpy.

And Kent likely won’t accept his loss any time soon.

“I won’t concede this race because we’re still very much in the fight, but I also won’t concede this race until every legal vote has been counted,” he told Tulsi Gabbard on a Fox News program Monday, nodding to curing rejected ballots.

But Kent’s messages of reassurance that he’s “very much in the fight” contain inaccurate information.

To begin, Kent has tweeted multiple times remaining ballot totals are separate from the total of ballots needed to be cured. Instead, they are actually a set, and Kent’s false interpretation has led to inflated numbers and incorrect conclusions.

Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey said there are 3,711 ballots left to cure in Clark County and 146 in the 3rd District’s portion of Thurston County.

Kent also claimed a 2,000 gap between the candidates’ votes would automatically result in a recount. A mandatory recount only occurs if the difference in totals is less than one half of one percent and also less than 2,000 votes, according to the Washington Secretary of State office.

As of early Friday afternoon, there was a 2,878 difference in votes between in Perez and Kent, or .90 percent.

Aside from these factual errors, Kent’s social media accounts signal a troublesome sentiment toward the election. In one of Kent’s retweets, a user claimed the media “pulled this scam in 2020,” referencing outlets calling Perez’s win. In another, the congressional race was called “sketchy.”

There haven’t been attempts from Kent’s Twitter account to address or assuage election denialism that runs rampant in his comment sections. And there may never be.

During his campaign, Kent frequently perpetuated the baseless theory that the 2020 presidential election was stolen and condemned mail-in voting, which has proven to be secure.

The election will be certified on Nov. 29.

Lauren Ellenbecker

Lauren Ellenbecker

Lauren Ellenbecker is a politics reporter for The Columbian.

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