BREAKING: Candidate in Deep Red #WA03 Goes Down in Flames

The bad news just keeps getting worse for Republicans. Not only have they lost the Senate, they have an increasingly difficult path to gaining control of the House. And the latest news out of Washington state’s 3rd Congressional District, which voted R+13 in 2020, is alarming: Donald Trump’s handpicked candidate, Joe Kent, has lost to Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez. This is a serious blow to the GOP, who needed to keep this seat, currently held by Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, to gain the majority. It should have been a slam dunk in deep red southwest Washington.

Decision Desk HQ made the call:

Hererra Beutler was reelected to this seat in 2020, beating her Democrat opponent by 13 points. She had held the seat since first winning in 2010 and never faced a serious Democrat challenger in the solidly Republican district in the years in. She looked like a shoo-in to keep her seat this year until Donald Trump threw his support behind her Republican primary challenger, Joe Kent.

It seems Herrera Beutler incurred the wrath of Trump in early 2021 when she voted in favor of impeaching him following January 6. She later voted in favor of establishing the January 6 commission and accused the former president of inciting violence at the Capitol.

In contrast, Joe Kent, a former Green Beret, echoed Trump’s claims of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election, thus, winning Trump’s support. That support carried him through the primary but wasn’t enough for him to repeat Herrera Beutler’s previous electoral successes.

Conservatives on Twitter were quick to react with astonishment at the upset by Perez.

It’s no surprise many are gobsmacked by the results. In addition to it being a solidly Republican district for years, the political prognosticators at FiveThirtyEight had given Kent a 98% chance of winning. It may be the biggest upset of 2022.

What happened? Kent was quite confident of his chances:

Kent had appeared confident of victory after the August primary, declaring the district to be “deep red MAGA country.”

Gluesenkamp Perez said the result showed most voters in the 3rd District reject that ideology.

Perez’s margin of victory is very slim, with her lead at around 4,600 votes. So, WA03 isn’t a write-off for Republicans, but it surely is a wake-up call. It could be that Perez is wrong and the MAGA message still resonates there. It may just be that the message-bearers are the problem, something seen in multiple races around the country.

The Republicans desperately needed this seat to gain control of the House. They are now faced with an additional two years of life as the minority party. This loss hurts them badly.

The lesson here? Primary elections have consequences.

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