Only a few days remain before Washington’s 3rd Congressional District race results are certified and, with the absence of a concession, candidate Republican Joe Kent’s intentions are clearer: rally for a recount and possibly lawyer up for further action.
In any case, Kent will need more money to pursue these avenues, according to his campaign.
“Given the number of ballots left to cure and the small margin between myself and my opponent, it’s possible that the eventual margin will require a mandatory recount per state law,” Kent wrote in a statement Friday. “However, if it narrowly misses that margin, my campaign is taking steps to raise the money to pay for an optional recount that is also allowed under state law.”
A mandatory recount only occurs if the difference in totals is less than one half of 1% and is also less than 2,000 votes, according to the Washington Secretary of State’s office.
As of noon Friday, the race’s winning candidate, Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, had 159,901 votes, or 50.17%, with Kent bringing in 157,089 votes, 49.28%. The margin was 2,812 votes, or 0.89 percent, meaning an automatic recount is unlikely to occur.
However, a recount can be requested within two days after the Secretary of State declares the elections official results on Nov. 29.
The state only reimburses the cost for a recount if it is mandatory, hence the Kent campaign’s efforts to fundraise for the process, which costs 25 cents per ballot cast for a hand recount or 15 cents per ballot for a machine recount. A date for a recount would be announced after the request is received.
Some who voted for Kent are rallying behind the candidate’s efforts, with some announcing their financial contributions to his campaign’s recount fund or encouraging others to donate. Online, multiple posts share a common message rife with skepticism surrounding Kent’s loss; as one Facebook user said: “We know Perez didn’t win, at least not officially yet.”
In the weeks following Perez’s win, Kent made frequent appearances on Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast to provide updates on his campaign’s ballot curing outreach. He matched his message with a heavy suspicion of the election itself, posing that something was “afoot” in its process. In his view, ballot counts were unrolling too slowly and muddied by “a bunch of non-answers” from election officials.
“We’re also gearing up for a legal fight,” Kent told Bannon earlier this week.
The nature and extent of Kent’s approach to ensure the election’s accuracy is unknown at this point, other than seeking a recount.
Days after Kent’s appearance on Bannon’s program, Kent wrote how he would view the election results once they are confirmed.
“As I said on the campaign trail, I will accept the eventual outcome of this election as determined by the Secretary of State, and my campaign will continue to work to ensure that the final count is as accurate as possible,” his statement concluded.
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