Joe Kent not contesting election, but is asking for transparency

Dec 5, 2022, 3:53 PM
Republican Congressional candidate Joe Kent speaks at a campaign event on October 5, 2022 in Morton, Washington. (Photo by Nathan Howard/Getty Images)
(Photo by Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

With under 3,000 votes separating Joe Kent from overtaking Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez as representative-elect for Washington’s 3rd congressional district, the former Green Beret is asking for a recount.

“Every time there was additional updates, it seemed like we were making progress,” Kent said on The Jason Rantz Show on AM 770 KTTH. “To honor every single voter in the district, we just want to take every means possible to make sure that we had a fair election.”

Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez won the race with 50.14% of the vote to Kent’s 49.31%, according to the Associated Press. The margin of 2,629 votes — 0.8% — failed to trigger an automatic recount, which occurs if the difference in votes is less than 0.5% and is also a difference of less than 2,000 votes.

Despite the race not requiring an automatic recount, Washington allows campaigns to specifically request a recount if the campaign deems it necessary — as long as they pay for it too.

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According to Associated Press, the machine recount fee costs 15 cents per ballot — making this recount cost close to $50,000.

“Anytime we question our elections whatsoever, even if it’s legitimate, and say, ‘hey, I just want to have a recount to make sure that everything is fair,’ they immediately run in to call us election deniers,” Kent said. “If they’re secure in their performance, then they should welcome any kind of audit. They should welcome recounts.”

Kent’s call for a recount only furthered his already-complicated relationship with the media, which he claimed played a significant part in Perez’ alleged lead.

“The media was getting good in-kind contributions to Marie Perez,” Kent said. “I mean, obviously, I had my own support in the media, but the liberal media really just dominates the national conversation. So yeah, I think the outcome would have been different. But that’s something that I think any conservative, any Republican, we’re going to have to just really fight back on.”

Both CNN and The Seattle Times have written what Kent called “a hit piece” over the photo taken of him at a town hall event with a self-described Neo-Nazi.

“Neither the Seattle Times nor CNN hides its partisan bias,” Rantz said in response to Kent’s comment. “The staff is overwhelmingly Democrat, and they frame stories through a left-wing lens. They purposefully tilt coverage against conservatives because they believe it’s their duty to defeat people with whom they disagree with.”

The Seattle Times described Perez’ defeat of Kent in the general election as “the most stunning political upset in the country this year.”

Kent previously said he would accept the Nov. 8 election results during a town hall debate, according to Crosscut.

“Here in Washington state, we’ve got to embrace ballot harvesting. It’s legal. The Democrats do it. We need to do it as well,” Kent said. “We need to get much better about actually getting out there. None of us conservatives, we don’t like it. But we have to accept the fact that there are problems with it, there might be even corruption within it, but we have to win within this system if we’re going to be able to change the system in the long run.”

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Ballot harvesting is the practice in which political operatives collect absentee ballots from voters’ homes and drop them off at a polling place or election office, according to the Committee on House Administration Republicans.

Committee Republicans have previously introduced three federal election security bills that all have provisions preventing ballot harvesting.

Washington’s final safeguard against voter fraud verifies signatures. If the signature does not match the one on file, the ballot is flagged and eventually tossed if they can’t confirm the right person signed it.

Kent, amongst other state conservatives, believes thousands of legitimate ballots are not being counted because of this protection.

“I don’t have any discrepancies to look at to point at, there were a lot of ballots that were rejected due to a signature verification software issue in Clark County,” Kent said. “I think, looking at the process, there were about 20 days where ballots were coming in different batches at different times. There are just a lot of moving pieces.

“I don’t like the way we vote here,” Kent continued.

Kent made sure to state, once the recount is finished, he will accept the results.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3 – 6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Joe Kent not contesting election, but is asking for transparency