Wading through this week’s pre-election politics

By now, if you’re a registered voter in Washington state, you should have received your Nov. 8 ballot in the mail.

And you’re probably wading through the tangle of headlines in this final sprint to election day.

KUOW reporter David Hyde is here to help.

A heated Senate debate, close races in purple House districts, the mystery of a missing job, and one very embarrassing letter.

All of them made the news this week as politicians gear up for the midterm election.

In the 3rd Congressional District in Southwest Washington, incumbent Jaime Herrera Beutler failed to make it out of the primary. So, former Army Green Beret and Republican Joe Kent is facing Democrat small-business owner Marie Gluesenkamp-Perez.

The district is typically considered firm Republican territory – former President Trump won the district in both 2016 and 2020. But this is not a conventional race.

“Gluesenkamp-Perez kind of comes out of nowhere, in some ways, because people hadn’t thought that Herrera Beutler was going to lose and get knocked off,” Hyde said. “She’s really kind of trying to run as an independent. And she’s got to do it, because that’s a R+4 district that Trump won. And if she doesn’t, you know that she’s got no chance. Even against Joe Kent, who she’s trying to say, is an extremist.”

Kent is a Trump-backed, far right Republican. And he’s come under scrutiny this week. Not for his policies, but for his job.

An article originally by The Daily Beast reported that the company he said he worked for in his candidate filings doesn’t exist. Kent has since stated that the name was incorrect on the filing due to a typo. He’s released previous W2s to confirm that the name of the company he works for is Advanced Enterprise Solutions. The W2 confirms the company did pay Kent $122,000 last year. According to the campaign, the company has to do with telecommunications infrastructure. But the business license for the business has lapsed, and the only listed office is in Delaware.

A former campaign manager for Kent says he has no other job.

“When can you think of a time where there’s been a campaign where we don’t know these basic biographical details about the candidate this close to the election?” Hyde said.

This week also saw the House Progressive Caucus, chaired by Seattle Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, release a letter sent to the White House that asked President Biden to pursue a “proactive diplomatic push” with Russia, “redoubling efforts to seek a realistic framework for a cease fire.”

A day later, Jayapal had to duck and cover, because criticism came in fast and furious, even from her own caucus members. She first clarified and later withdrew the letter, saying it was sent out on accident by staff, without vetting and that most of the signatures were gathered back in June, when the situation in Ukraine looked different.

“It’s just weird timing,” Hyde said. “I mean, that’s the biggest thing. We’re heading right into the midterms. The US is not invading Iraq. It’s not invading Vietnam. You know, it’s not invading Grenada. And most Americans seem to be rooting for Ukraine. Like, I don’t see a huge in the streets pacifist movement, supporting Russia’s position, sort of brewing anywhere. So, it’s a little hard to see, in that sense, where it’s coming from.”

Finally, on Friday night, 8th District Congresswoman Kim Schrier faces off in a debate with her opponent, Republican Matt Larkin. They’re fighting to represent a district that includes parts of east and central Washington.

KUOW’s David Hyde will be moderating the conversation. Find more information about attending the debate, or listening live, here.

For more about this week in politics, listen to the full conversation by hitting the play button at the top of the web page.

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