Spike in campaign outreach against Democrat

In the past week, voters in Southwest Washington may have encountered a wave of push polling and television ads against Marie Gluesenkamp Perez of Skamania for being “too liberal” for the region.

Washington’s 3rd Congressional District is rife with Republican candidates and sprinkled with a few third-party challengers hoping to unseat Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler. Although there are technically two Democrats in the running, the candidate from Skamania has emerged as the most viable among the two. After announcing her candidacy in February, Perez accumulated around $67,000 in campaign financing by the end of March, as opposed to fellow Democrat Davy Ray of Stevenson who didn’t have any funds, according to the Federal Election Commission.

Conversely, Republican challengers have had more promising fundraising outcomes, some of whom used the money to promote charged ads against other candidates. Southwest Washington residents reported receiving push polls and automated calls funded by the Joe Kent campaign that criticized Perez.

In a voicemail, an automated message said:

“Marie Gluesenkamp Perez is the only pro-choice candidate for congress in Washington’s 3rd Congressional District and (sic) she would support the Democrat’s agenda of gun control, the Green New Deal and supporting abortion rights. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez is just too liberal for our conservative Southwest Washington values.”

Similar advertisements echoing the same sentiment were broadcast on multiple cable channels. This comes in conjunction with Kent’s recent criticisms on social media of the Democratic challenger, a shift from his previously silent stance on Perez. Who is to say whether the ads have an influence over voters within the district.

The flood of political campaign commercials and outreach is only expected to grow as the Aug. 2 primary election approaches. Seeing as the top two candidates will advance to the Nov. 8 general election, many are left wondering whether the vote will be between a Democrat and Republican or a quarrel between the latter party.

Lauren Ellenbecker

Lauren Ellenbecker

Lauren Ellenbecker is a politics reporter for The Columbian.

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