MAGA Republican Joe Kent spreads election conspiracy theories during ballot count
In Southwest Washington's 3rd Congressional District, MAGA Republican Joe Kent is locked in a tight race against Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez.
Earlier, Kent said he would accept the results, even though he falsely claims without evidence that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump.
But now he's spreading election conspiracy theories about his own race.
Kent went on the "War Room" podcast Thursday with former Trump advisor and conspiracy theorist Steve Bannon, who asked why the ballot count is taking so long in the race.
Kent claimed without evidence that it's because election officials are up to no good.
“Best case, they're just trying to demoralize us. Worst case, there's some sleight of hand going on behind the scenes,” Kent said.
But, as Washington voters have known for years, it's perfectly normal for ballot counting here to take a while. Our state's mail-in system allows ballots to be postmarked on Election Day, and they can take days to trickle in.
This story also has some irony to it. Kent himself may have helped gum up the works. He told his supporters to only vote in person on the last day to avoid supposed election fraud, which again, he had no evidence for.
Carolyn Fundingsland, an auditor in the 3rd District’s heavily Republican Cowlitz County, said her office was swamped this year by in-person voting, even though overall voter turnout is down compared to the last midterm in 2018.
“We had to pull all of those staff to the front line to help all of those people who were waiting in line for a replacement ballot, when they were issued a mail ballot,” she said.
According to Fundingsland, her office couldn't process any ballots while skilled staff were helping voters.
“That's why we're seeing a backlog of ballots right now,” she said.
She said Cowlitz would still have around 8000 uncounted ballots on hand after today, not including the ones that will continue to trickle in by mail. A winner in this race may not be declared until sometime next week at the earliest.
Joe Kent's campaign could not be reached for comment.