Washington Republican Joe Kent to request recount in race for seat flipped by Democrat

Washington state Republican Joe Kent on Friday announced his campaign will request a machine ballot recount of all precincts in the state’s 3rd Congressional District. 

“Once the Secretary of State certifies tech election we will file for a recount of the entire district,” Kent tweeted, sharing a statement from his campaign. “I owe it to my voters & supporters to ensure that their voices are heard.” 

Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez was declared the winner in House race, narrowly defeating Kent 50.4% to 45.6%. Her margin of victory was 2,629 votes, or 0.83%, which is outside the threshold for an automatic recount under state law, 

Nevertheless, the Kent campaign cited the close margin and unidentified issues with signature verification software in its statement announcing the recount request.

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“We believe the election workers did their best to ensure a fair election and count the ballots accurately,” his campaign said. “But given the close margin between the two campaigns, technical issues with the signature verifications software, and the obligation we have to our supporter to ensure certainty about the outcome, we believe a second tabulation is in order.”

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Joe Kent, a retired Army Special Forces chief warrant officer. 
(Joe Kent campaign)

Kent can officially submit the recount request to the secretary of state office within two days of when it verifies the election results, which will occur around Dec. 8. He must provide a security deposit close to $48,000, accounting for the machine recount fee of 15 cents per ballot, The Associated Press reported. 

An approximate time frame for a machine recount won’t be known until the process begins, according to the secretary of state’s office. 

Multiple factors, including the machines, staffing and the daily county recounts will determine how long it will take. The 3rd District encompasses Clark, Cowlitz, Lewis, Pacific, Skamania and Wahkiakum counties, and a small portion of Thurston County.

In Clark County — which accounts for 64.12% of total ballots cast districtwide — a machine recount would take five to seven business days, according to the Clark County Elections Office.

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Rep.-elect Marie Gluesenkamp Perez joins the hosts of MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

Rep.-elect Marie Gluesenkamp Perez joins the hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
(Screenshot/MSNBC/MorningJoe)

A campaign flag for Republican Congressional candidate Joe Kent is displayed near a campaign event on Oct. 5, 2022, in Morton, Washington.

A campaign flag for Republican Congressional candidate Joe Kent is displayed near a campaign event on Oct. 5, 2022, in Morton, Washington.
(Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

Perez’s victory flipped the 3rd District for Democrats. It is currently represented by Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., who is one of 10 Republican House members who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump. Beutler was defeated by Kent, a former Green Beret and staunch Trump supporter, in the Republican primary in August. 

Kent, who was endorsed by Trump, has called for an impeachment of President Joe Biden and an investigation into the 2020 election. 

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Democratic Rep.-elect Perez, a small-business owner from the southwestern part of the state, campaigned on protecting abortion rights, supporting democracy, and reached out to moderate Republicans and independents who were uncomfortable with Kent’s populist and pro-Trump positions. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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