Whenever the partisan political discourse of Washington, D.C., would reach a boiling point of name calling and blatant lies, the late Maryland congressman Elijah Cummings would often retort, “this is not who we are’’ as Americans. “We’re better than this.”

That sentiment reverberated across the country to Washington’s 3rd Congressional District recently, where voters — Democrats and some Republicans — rejected the extremism, bigotry and big lie coming from the campaign of Joe Kent.

While the nation still awaits the outcome of the balance of power in the U.S. House of Representatives, Washingtonians’ choices have been settled, even with our secure mail voting system that often takes is own sweet time to operate.

Voters chose Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, a 34-year old Skamania County small business owner, to represent them, flipping the red seat to blue. She beat Kent by more than 3,000 votes as of Tuesday’s latest vote counts. She appealed to voters with a clear understanding of the issues that affect their daily lives, not by touting a party line of sound bites and nasty zingers.

Kent, 42, won the Republican nomination by defeating incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, her punishment for voting to impeach former President Donald Trump for his involvement in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

In some ways, Kent’s political views were in line with many in the Republican-leaning 3rd District — he was against abortion, with no exceptions, and was critical of Gov. Jay Inslee’s vaccine mandate for state employees. At 49% of the vote, he obviously connects with many voters.


But it wasn’t his political views that prompted more GOP voters to cross the party line and vote for the Democrat. Many not only voted for Gluesenkamp Perez, some prominent Republican leaders supported her candidacy financially and on the ground level.

What offended voters here and elsewhere in the country who stopped election deniers in their tracks was divisiveness, extreme rhetoric and ridiculous ideas.

Kent, a Special Forces Army veteran, abandoned his valor and patriotism to become a Trump Mini Me, regurgitating the big lie in denying President Joe Biden’s win in 2020, and associating with white nationalists and calling those who were charged in the deadly insurrection “political prisoners.” He gladly jumped on Trump’s “America First” train, along with the likes of Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz. Admittance requires one to fiercely demonize any one who disagrees with them. 

Thankfully, the voters of the 3rd District saw the train coming, recognized it for what it was and made the right choice.

They chose unity over divisiveness.

They chose civility over lies and chaos.

The voters in the 3rd Congressional District were right, “we are better than this.” The entire state and nation thanks them.