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Far-right extremist on ballot for Congress in SW Washington

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Photo by Nathan Howard / AP
Photo by Nathan Howard / AP

Joe Kent knocks out Herrera Beutler, but both trail Democrat

Far-right extremist Joe Kent will be on the ballot for Congress in Washington's 3rd Congressional District in November. He will face Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez in the November election.

In Washington state's top-two primary system, the top two vote getters advance to the general election regardless of their party affiliation. Perez came in first in the primary count with 31% of the total, while Kent edged out incumbent Jamie Herrera Beutler with 22.74% to her 22.31%.

Herrera Beutler was one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump following the January 6 insurrection, earning the wrath of Trump and his far-right following.

Photo by Elizabeth Frantz / Reuters  

Kent actively courted Trump and figures even further to the right. Reacting to the FBI raid on Trump's palatial Mar-a-Lago residence, Kent told Trump strategist Steve Bannon, "This just shows everyone what many of us have been saying for a very long time. We're at war."

According to the Associated Press, Kent has also aligned himself with a number of far-right, white nationalist, or neo-fascist groups.

"I don't think there's anything wrong with there being a white-people special interest group," Kent said during the YouTube interview with a group called the American Populist Union. He also said the immigration situation between the US and Mexico wasn't as bad as in Europe because "their version of Mexico is Africa and the Middle East."

The AP noted that campaign finance disclosures reveal Kent recently paid $11,375 for "consulting" over the past four months to Graham Jorgensen, who was identified as a Proud Boy in a law enforcement report and was charged with cyberstalking his ex-girlfriend in 2018.

Kent is also reported to be a close political ally of Joey Gibson, the founder of the Christian nationalist group Patriot Prayer.

Since establishing the group in 2016, Gibson has organized demonstrations in Portland, as well as the city's Washington state suburbs, where he and his followers have clashed with left-wing groups. Many of the demonstrations were coordinated with the Proud Boys.

Gibson regularly promoted Kent's campaign on social media and spoke at a Kent fundraiser last year. When it was Kent's turn to speak at the event, he lavished praise on Gibson, saying that Gibson "defended this community when our community was under assault from antifa."

Photos from far-right events demonstrate that Kent's allies have associated with known white supremacists. In numerous instances, Gibson as well as Jorgensen, the Proud Boy on Kent's payroll, were recorded standing next to Jacob Von Ott, who has posted racist and antisemitic views online and expressed admiration for the founder of the American Nazi Party.

Kent has also sought support from figures associated with the white nationalist "Groyper Army" movement led by internet personality Nick Fuentes. Fuentes attended the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, as well as the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol.

Kent admitted that a political consultant set up a conference call early in his campaign that included Fuentes, but he denied that there was any sort of formal arrangement between them.

In April, however, Kent was photographed at a fundraiser giving a thumbs-up with Greyson Arnold, a Groyper-aligned commentator who identifies as a "Christian American Nationalist." Like Fuentes, Arnold was also at the US Capitol during the insurrection.