118th Congress: Meet the Woman Who Flipped a Key Seat in the House

By Annabella Gizzi

Washington state’s 3rd Congressional District had not sent a Democrat to “the other Washington” since 2008. Republicans have dominated the district in recent presidential elections. The seat was rated “lean” Republican by the respected Cook Political Report in 2022. The district was even redrawn in a way that benefited Republicans after the 2020 census. But on November 12, 2022, after all ballots had been counted, a surprising outcome was revealed: Democrat Marie Glusenkamp Perez had won the election, flipping the seat and providing a key win for Democrats in the House of Representatives. It was the only “lean Republican” outcome that was incorrectly predicted by the Cook Political Report.

Marie Glusenkamp Perez was hardly the traditional Congressional candidate. Self-described as an “independent-minded Democrat,” Glusenkamp Perez owns an auto-repair shop just outside of her Southwest Washington district. She ran on an interesting campaign platform, with core values that represented her rural district. Her untraditional background appeared to benefit her among her future constituents who were used to feeling underrepresented in Congress. She holds some traditionally liberal views, like being pro-choice and believing in LGBTQ+ equality. On the other hand, she is a fiscal conservative and a gun owner who is a strong supporter of the 2nd amendment – qualities that make her a desirable candidate for a rural area like WA-03. 

Glusenkamp Perez’s opponent, Joe Kent, was far from a moderate. Proudly endorsed by former President Donald Trump, Kent often aligned himself with controversial figures like Marjorie Taylor Greene and employed members of the white supremacist group the Proud Boys. Glusenkamp Perez used these things against Kent leading up to the general election and defeated him by just 2,633 votes.

Since the start of her term in January of this year, Glusenkamp Perez has stayed true to the values that she campaigned on as well as keeping her promise to represent her rural voters. She currently serves on the House Committee on Agriculture and the House Committee on Small Business, working specifically in areas like forestry and rural development. She also serves as co-chair of the Blue Dog Coalition, which represents the most conservative Democrats in the House of Representatives.

Marie Glusenkamp Perez is an interesting woman in politics to watch because although she doesn’t represent the progressive ideology that many people in Gen Z have embraced, she serves as an excellent example of how Democrats in Congress and even at a local level can campaign and advertise themselves to constituents in rural districts such as WA-03. Democrats have historically been perceived as out of touch with rural voters, and leaders like Marie Glusenkamp Perez can help the party grow in those areas. 


Hi! My name is Annabella. I am currently a sophomore at Marymount University where I am studying political science. During the Spring 2023 term, I had the privilege of interning with Representative Derek Kilmer and upon graduation intend to stay in DC to pursue a career in politics. When I am not in DC, you can find me in the “other Washington,” Washington state, where I am from.

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