Joe Kent, a decorated retired Green Beret and House candidate in Washington State, is discovering just how far the modern far right will go.

Joe Kent, a square-jawed Trump devotee running for a House seat in Washington State, is in a bit of a pickle.

Kent has campaigned as a “Stop the Steal”-style candidate on Donald Trump’s “America First” platform, positions that apparently caught the eye of the former president, who has endorsed him.

Kent insists the 2020 election was rigged, and has rationalized the violence on Jan. 6, 2021, by claiming that an otherwise peaceful crowd was infiltrated by Deep State agents provocateurs. In September, he spoke at a rally in Washington, D.C., in support of people accused of storming the Capitol, urging the release of what he called “political prisoners.”

Kent is running to unseat Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler, a Republican, in Washington’s solidly red Third Congressional District. A relative moderate, she voted to impeach Trump after the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol — a decision that put her on the former president’s list of House Republicans he is targeting for removal.

Mark Stephan.

Mark Stephan, a political scientist at Washington State University, said he could envision a showdown in the fall between Herrera Beutler and Kent, but allowed that Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, the leading Democrat, might squeak through to the general election if enough Republicans split their votes.

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New York Times