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GOP outsider offers Beltway donors 30-minute sitdowns

Republican Joe Kent defeated impeachment supporter Jaime Herrera Beutler in Washington primary last month

Republican House candidate Joe Kent speaks at a Sept. 18, 2021 "Justice for J6" rally in support of defendants charged with committing nonviolent crimes at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Republican House candidate Joe Kent speaks at a Sept. 18, 2021 "Justice for J6" rally in support of defendants charged with committing nonviolent crimes at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (JT Star Max/AP file photo)

After running as an outsider who would oppose the Capitol’s establishment players, Republican Joe Kent is making overtures to Beltway insiders.

Kent, who defeated Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler in an August primary in Washington’s 3rd District, is planning to head to Capitol Hill next week for meetings with donors and lobbyists, according to solicitations sent on behalf of his campaign. 

Kent, a far-right Republican who has the backing of former President Donald Trump and regularly rails against the Beltway establishment, is working to set up back-to-back meetings all day at the Capitol Hill Club on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Kent is offering would-be donors 30-minute slots, with prompts to donate to his campaign on a sign-up form indicating their preferred meeting time, according to an email sent by the firm Fundraising INC. 

After beating Herrera Beutler, one of 10 House Republicans to vote for Trump’s impeachment, Kent is favored to win the seat in November. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates his race against Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez as Solid Republican. Gluesenkamp Perez won the most votes in the Aug. 2 all-party primary with Kent in second place, edging out Herrera Beutler from advancing to the November election. 

An email invitation, obtained by CQ Roll Call, billed Kent as the “next Congressman from Washington’s Third District.” 

A representative of the fundraising firm did not respond to a request for comment. Neither did Kent’s campaign. 

The email described Kent’s service in the Army as well as his wife’s death in combat.

“When he turned eighteen, he joined the military and qualified for the Ranger Regiment and Special forces. He served with distinction for over twenty years on eleven combat deployments,” it said. “He met his wife, Shannon, who also served in our military, and they had two boys. Shannon was killed in combat in Syria after President Trump’s attempt to withdraw us from that conflict was sabotaged by the DC Establishment.”

Kent’s campaign had raised nearly $2 million as of July 13, plus he loaned his campaign another $200,000, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission. Herrera Beutler had a fundraising advantage, reporting nearly $1 million cash on hand on July 13, compared with Kent’s $353,000. Gluesenkamp Perez, who owns an auto repair business, held about $80,000 from a haul of about $250,000, disclosures show. 

Donors to Kent’s campaign include committees controlled by GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida and fellow Republican candidates, such as Catalina Lauf in Illinois’ 11th District. 

The conservative Club for Growth has also invested in Kent’s campaign. 

Individual donors to Kent’s campaign include Steve Wynn, the casino and hotel developer, and Peter Thiel, a billionaire and co-founder of PayPal. He has listed less than $10,000 in donations from people who reside in Washington, D.C., according to FEC reports. 

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