Campaign cash pouring into southwest WA congressional race

Democratic Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, who is seeking re-election, outraised Republicans Joe Kent and Leslie Lewallen in the latest campaign finance filings.

By: - October 16, 2023 3:25 pm

Democratic Congresswoman Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (Courtesy of Gluesenkamp Perez campaign)

U.S. Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, a Democrat whose unexpected win in 2022 flipped a Republican-held seat in southwest Washington, has amassed $2.1 million for a re-election bid next year, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.

Gluesenkamp Perez hauled in $600,000 in the three-month period ending Sept. 30, outpacing Joe Kent and Leslie Lewallen, the two leading Republicans vying to challenge her next year.

Kent, who Gluesenkamp Perez defeated by 2,629 votes in southwest Washington’s 3rd District, has raised $630,578 through his official campaign committee with $197,000 coming in the latest quarter.

Republican Joe Kent (Photo courtesy of Kent campaign)

Meanwhile, the Joe Kent Victory Fund, a separate political committee, raised and spent nearly $460,000 this last quarter to boost his candidacy. About $163,500 was transferred to the main campaign account.

And Kent has designated five other political action committees to raise and spend money on his behalf. One, with Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, who led the effort to oust House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, was closed in July.

Lewallen has collected $220,364 since entering the race in April, with roughly $80,000 coming in the last quarter. Among her donors are Clyde Holland, a southwest Washington builder and stalwart funder of Republican candidates, and Brian Heywood, founder of Let’s Go Washington, the group pushing initiatives targeting the capital gains tax and cap-and-trade program.

As of Oct. 1, Gluesenkamp Perez had $1.6 million on hand to Kent’s $443,404 and Lewallen’s $143,837. Those are totals for their primary campaign committees.

Republican Leslie Lewallen (Photo courtesy of Lewallen campaign)

Filings with the Federal Election Commission cover the three months of fundraising ending Sept. 30, plus totals for the election cycle which began Jan. 1, 2023. The latest reports were due Sunday.

Next year’s contest in the 3rd District is expected to be a marquee political battle as Republicans are smarting from losing the seat Republican Jaime Herrera Beutler held for 12 years.

Kent ousted her in the 2022 primary then lost to the unheralded Gluesenkamp Perez in the district, which covers Lewis, Pacific, Wahkiakum, Cowlitz, Clark and Skamania counties and a small some of Thurston County.

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Jerry Cornfield
Jerry Cornfield

Jerry Cornfield joined the Standard after 20 years covering Olympia statehouse news for The Everett Herald. Earlier in his career, he worked for daily and weekly papers in Santa Barbara, California.