With midterm elections just weeks away, both candidates for Southwest Washington’s 3rd District congressional seat are posting their highest-ever fundraising hauls, according to newly-released campaign finance documents.
Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez rapidly outpaced Republican Joe Kent in donations over the summer, the records show. Both campaigns enter the final stretch with hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend. The two are vying for an open seat after they unseated sitting Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler in the August primary.
Gluesenkamp Perez, an auto shop owner living in Skamania County, raked in $2.2 million from donors. More than half came from donations in the month of September, her campaign said, in the wake of her first-place finish in the primary.
Kent, a retired Green Beret living in the Clark County town of Yacolt, brought in $702,000. In the quarterly disclosures, the Republican has consistently posted between $250,000 and $450,000 from donors, dating back to when he first announced his campaign in early 2021.
The disclosures offer a glimpse into how the campaigns will spend the final weeks, when such races usually reach a fever pitch. The August primary, in which multiple Republicans hoped to knock off Herrera Beutler, blanketed the Portland metro media market in television ads.
The final two candidates each have less than $1 million left, the disclosures show, but with ample time left to raise money. The Kent campaign has $327,000 in the bank, while Gluesenkamp Perez — who has already rolled out multiple television ads — has $777,000.
To the Gluesenkamp Perez campaign, her donations underscore her calls for the district to elect a moderate voice. She frequently calls Kent, who is endorsed by former president Donald Trump, an “extremist.”
“People are sick and tired of what’s happening in Congress,” Gluesenkamp Perez said in a statement. “The partisan bickering and extremism has left working people and small business owners like myself out in the cold.”
The Kent campaign did not release a statement or respond to requests for comment Monday. His campaign has been scrutinized for interacting with far-right groups like Patriot Prayer, with whom he has held campaign events, and the Proud Boys.
Early last month, OPB reported that Gluesenkamp Perez has been receiving substantial support from some of the region’s powerful Republicans, including one of Herrera Beutler’s largest benefactors and a former executive of the region’s largest GOP organization.
Kent’s campaign has responded by labeling such Republicans as supporters of “the establishment.” His backers have also attempted to call Gluesenkamp Perez a supporter of far-left groups.
Despite Gluesenkamp Perez’s gains, the Democrats’ national campaign arm has yet to jump into the race. The organization spent heavily in the past two cycles, when Democrat Carolyn Long attempted to unseat Herrera Beutler.
The Democratic Congressional Committee has yet to support the campaign. A campaign spokesperson on Monday confirmed the DCCC has not engaged. In September, a DCCC spokesperson wrote to OPB that they are “watching the seat closely.”
Still, Gluesenkamp Perez’s recent fundraising sets her apart from recent history. Even without national backing, her fundraising quarter is the highest on record for either major party dating back to 2018.
Political prognosticators believe the race skews in Kent’s favor. Trump won the district in 2020 by 4 percentage points. He endorsed Kent, who edged out Herrera Beutler despite a crowded primary.
The Cook Political Report considers the race to “lean Republican.” Still, that is a downgrade from its earlier “solid Republican” rating before Herrera Beutler fell short.