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Democrat seeks to flip critical House seat after Trump intervention splits Republicans

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Brent Hennrich wants to change a seat held by Republicans since 2010 (Brent Hennrich)

Brent Hennrich, the Democrat who seeks to turn around one of the most followed electoral contests of the year, has assumed the first position in the polls, after the intervention of Donald Trump divided the field of the Republicans.

Washington state’s 3rd congressional district is currently held by Republican Jaime Herrera Beutler, who was first elected in 2010 and is seeking a sixth term.

However, Beutler was one of 10 Republican members of the House who voted to impeach Trump after the seizure of the US Capitol. An angry Trump has promised to back challengers to everyone who voted against him and has already endorsed several candidates.

In Washington’s 3rd District, the former president has endorsed former Green Beret Joe Kent, a veteran of the post-9/11 US wars whose wife, a naval cryptographer, was killed by Isis.

One of the impacts of the former president’s direct involvement in the race, and the prospect that he may come to the Pacific Northwest to campaign for Kent, is that it has turned the race into a means of measuring Trump’s power and influence among Americans. voters, even though he is no longer president.

Another consequence of Trump’s actions in dividing the Republican field has been to pave the way for Hennrich, 42, a father of three who worked as a manager at Dolby Cinemas, to rise to the top of the polls.

While he has far less name recognition and less in the campaign coffers to date than either Herrera Beutler or Kent, the most recent Trafalgar Group poll puts him in first place at 33 percent, ahead of Kent at 26. percent, Herrera Beutler at 22 percent, and Heidi St John, a conservative author of religious books, at 12 percent.

Henrich counts the independent he was delighted and a little intimidated when an earlier poll put him second to Kent, but ahead of Herrera Beutler.

“It cemented my momentum to say, we’re in this, we’re in this for the right reasons and resonating, and we’re going to do this,” he says.

He says that also presents him with a sense of responsibility after Democrats were disappointed not to change the seat in 2020, when college professor Carolyn Long failed for the second time in a row not to beat Herrera Beutler. For Democrats, the sense of disappointment was greater given that the Republican incumbent actually increased the scale of her victory.

“I have to act. I have to keep putting in work every day. And I do it 16 hours a day. Every day,” she says.

Hennrich acknowledges that the fact that he has never held public office before could be both a problem and a benefit.

“I see it as a blessing and a curse. When we’re looking to get people elected, we want to see, oftentimes, how they’ve voted or how they’ve reacted to different issues, whether it’s the city council, the county council, the state legislature, and if they have a voting history, so that it can be presented to the voters,” he says.

“And that can be, like any statistic, semi-manipulated or misrepresented.”

On the other hand, by not having that track record, people can’t accuse him of changing his position on key issues when it might be politically expedient.

“I say my biggest baggage in this career is that I don’t have any baggage,” he adds.

One of the most formative experiences for Hennrich, who was born and raised in southwestern Washington, was the death of a child, Addison, who died after his wife, Amber, suffered a placental abruption when she was 20 months pregnant.

The couple made the decision to induce the child to save his wife’s life, and the little girl died cradled in their arms that same day. He says the experience not only made him an even fiercer advocate for reproductive choice, but also fueled a desire to help others.

Hennrich is a supporter of Joe Biden’s infrastructure spending and Covid relief spending, and he believes helping the nation move toward green energy can lead to good-paying jobs, in his district and across the country.

Hennrich says he thinks Herrera Beutler did the right thing by voting to impeach Trump. However, he dismisses suggestions that he should be supported for doing so.

“I don’t think that one vote, which is the bare minimum to preserve and protect the United States Constitution, necessarily makes it more representative of our area,” he says. “It’s kind of like, the lowest hanging fruit.”

Brent Hennrich says lack of public record could be a 'blessing or curse' (Brent Henrich)

Brent Hennrich says lack of public record could be a “blessing or a curse” (Brent Hennrich)

Hennrich says that Herrera Beutler rarely meets with constituents and has no contact with the community. (His office did not respond to inquiries from the independent.)

“I don’t think it’s accessible,” he says. “Your voting record is nowhere near what I think the values, morals and ethics of our area are. And just because she voted for impeachment, it doesn’t change much.”

Hennrich claims that Kent is a hard-line, America-first nationalist who will be seen as too extreme by many in the district.

However, the two credit each other for their enthusiastic campaigning and their willingness to engage with voters. As favourites, the two have debated each other over The Lars Larson Showa conservative radio show based in Vancouver, Washington.

This week, the two discussed immigration, energy independence and whether the government had the power to force people to get vaccinated. On the last point, Hennrich was a firm “yes”, while Kent was a resounding “no”.

Larson, who made it clear that he supported Kent and felt that Herrera Beutler was a “Republican in name only,” or RINO, asked Hennrich if he supported the president’s decision to allow up to 100,000 short-term refugees into the country. from Ukraine.

Joe Kent has been a regular in the conservative media since announcing his candidacy (Via Facebook)

Joe Kent has been a regular in the conservative media since announcing his candidacy (Via Facebook)

“Yes, I think we should welcome 100,000 refugees and quite possibly many more refugees,” he said.

“All the statements I have seen so far is that what they are seeking is short-term refugee status. These are women and children. These are families who want to return to their homes and children and parents who are still in Ukraine.”

He added: “These people need shelter now to stay safe.”

Kent, who has supported Trump’s call to build a wall on the southern border and who has said he supports sending troops to help border agents, has opposed US support for Ukraine, saying he has nothing. to do with the national security interests of the nation. and that the Americans should not be fighting there or being asked to supply their armed forces

Kent, who says he would push for Biden’s impeachment if he were in Congress, said he also opposes allowing the refugees in because they would not return to Ukraine.

“No one ever leaves the United States,” he said. “No, we shouldn’t take any of these refugees. They can stay there in the region. Poland should engage. We can support the Polish government and welcome those refugees temporarily, but we shouldn’t accept refugees, period.”

Hennrich appears to be enjoying the increased media and public attention as the August primary approaches.

“Right now this is a tier three race, if not a tier four race, because nobody knows what’s going to happen here until the votes are cast in August,” he says.

He says that if the current polls are correct, and he and Kent go to the general election, “this will be a top-tier race and it will be discussed everywhere and everything will change.”

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