Ex-GOP Chairman Explains How MAGA Candidate Kent Lost
By John Gizzi Sunday, 13 November 2022 07:58 PM EST Current | Bio | Archive
By running a "lousy" campaign and "talking about issues people didn't care about," Trump Republican Joe Kent lost Washington state's historically Republican 3rd District, former State GOP Chairman Kirby Wilbur told Newsmax.
Barely 24 hours after liberal Democrat and first-time candidate Marie Gluesenkamp Perez was declared the winner in the 8th District, pundits were wondering just how she did it in a district considered "MAGA country."
Wilbur, an activist since his teenage years in the conservative Young Americans For Freedom (YAF) and longtime radio talk show host, told us, "Joe was an heroic soldier and could have been a hero in an action picture about his fellow Green Berets. But he had no political experience, and after winning first place in the 'jungle primary' in August, he proceeded to talk about the same issues [as in the primary]: his promise to impeach Joe Biden and investigate the FBI. And, of course, he kept repeating the 2020 election was stolen from Trump."
The "jungle primary" is one in which candidates of all parties compete on the same ballot and the top two vote-getters meet in a November runoff. Such issues, Wilbur said, were enough for him to overcome fellow Republican and six-term Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, one of 10 House Republicans to vote for Trump's impeachment.
"But they just didn't sell with voters in the general election," he added.
In contrast, Democrat Perez, who co-owns an auto parts store with her husband, ran on "kitchen table" issues such as the cost of gasoline and groceries.
"And while she ran as a 'pro-choice' candidate on abortion, she also said she supported the right to keep and bear arms," said Wilbur. "And that appealed to moderate voters — even though [Perez] had been an active Bernie Sanders for president volunteer."
Wilbur also pointed out, "In Clark County, which has the bulk of the voters in the 3rd, there has always been a fractious Republican Party. One faction backed Jaime in the primary and another, which had been closely associated with Ron Paul's presidential campaign in 2012, backed Joe. They never came together after the primary."