PDX Dispatch 8.16: The Don’s Draper

Who’s Joe Kent?

Don’t ask me. But we’d better find out. Trump-endorsed Joe Kent recently unseated six-term Republican Congresswoman Jamie Herrera Buetler in the Republican primary for Washington’s Congressional District 3, just over the Columbia River in Washington state.

VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — Jaime Herrera Beutler, who represented Washington’s 3rd District since 2011, conceded her re-election race moments after the latest vote totals were released from the Washington Secretary of State late Tuesday afternoon…

The battle between Herrera Beutler and Kent is a now-familiar tale: She voted to impeach Donald Trump following the insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, and he was endorsed by Trump in the primary.

Kent, a Trump-backed former Green Beret who has pushed election conspiracy theories and has ties to right-wing groups, will now face Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez in the November 2022 election.

Kent is also endorsed by Peter Thiel.

Buetler voted for impeaching Trump and Kent is Trump-endorsed. She toes the corporate line on immigration and interestingly enough is against same-sex marriage. Of course Kent’s primary victory is being viewed here entirely as another referendum on Trump. In speech at least he sounds like a genuine and articulate populist. Having dispatched Herrera-Buetler he’ll face off with the next hispanic hyphen-ette, Gluesenkamp Perez. A conservative Republican with the name of a porn star, Heidi St John, dropped out of the race but won’t endorse Joe.

Buetler was considered a shoo-in running against a Democrat in November. The Democrat Perez earned her spot on the November ballot with 32 per cent of the vote (to Kent’s 22 percent); Washington state’s open primary system selects the top two vote-getters to run against each other in November. Republican turnout was huge. There was talk of Democrats showing up to vote for Buetler against Kemp but that appears to have been insignificant.

Kent looks like a seventies television star.

If Andrew Stevens and Grant Goodeave merged…

Kent’s history is remarkable, tragic and suspicious. Kent was career army working in Special Forces, a decorated Green Beret with multiple combat deployments before he retired to work for the CIA. His wife was an enlisted Navy interpreter and cryptologist working for the spooks in Syria where she was killed in a 2019 suicide bombing.

Suspicion is understandable: here comes handsome Joe just out of the CIA (or not out) with a story, if not too good to be true too good to be trusted.

In Kent’s favor is his family and background before he joined the military

The first child of two attorneys, Kent grew up in southwest Portland in a conservative and deeply Catholic household, according to his father.

“We ran maybe a little bit of a tight ship,” Chris Kent said. “We said, as long as you’re living under our roof, if it’s Sunday, we’re going to mass. Pray for your friends, pray for your enemies, whatever — you’re going.”

(…)

In 1999, Kent’s father went toe-to-toe with the U.S. Department of Justice. Chris Kent won a $6 million settlement against the FBI, after a judge ruled agents willfully leaked bad intelligence alleging a Portland-area banker had bribed Czech Republic officials.

The case drew Kent’s attention to other famous incidents involving federal law enforcement. He dived into the histories of the U.S. Marshals’ botched siege at Ruby Ridge. Likewise, the Waco siege that involved the FBI and other agencies and left more than 80 people dead — including dozens of children. Both incidents became formative for anti-government movements in the Pacific Northwest and across the country.

“I’m going to join the army and I’m like, ‘My dad’s up against the FBI. That’s really weird.’ And my dad’s like ‘These guys are dirty to the core, they’re entrapping innocent people,’” Kent said. “I thought maybe it was just a one-off, but the more you go down the rabbit hole of the origins of Ruby Ridge and Waco and all that, it’s like ‘Oh, that’s kind of what these guys do.’”

After the Sept. 11 attacks, Kent charged into conflict. He served 11 combat tours — mostly in Iraq, with deployments in Yemen and north Africa — and won six bronze stars. He rose to the rank of chief warrant officer in the Green Berets. In 2018, he collected his pension and became a paramilitary officer with the CIA.

Warrant officers are a separate officer category for enlisted lifers, sort of in-between commissioned officers and enlisted. A senior non-commissioned officer who accrues enough experience and authority in a given occupation might become a warrant officer.

But dad’s politics don’t really mean anything, and a son is also likely to resist or rebel against them–by joining the military say. His father told a reporter Joe’s political awakening came as a surprise.

Still, his father was surprised when Kent decided to make a run at Congress.

“When he told us that I went, ‘What?’ He never had aspired to any kind of political office,” Chris Kent said. “The complete opposite.”

Interesting.

Here’s a site I believe is (pretty clumsy) controlled opposition purporting to expose Kent as controlled opposition. There’s no reason Joe Kent and the site can’t both be controlled opposition. Kent being that of the Deep State, and the site being that of the Democratic Party.

Of course there are tepid “ties to extremists” (Proud Boys!) and associations-with-people-who-associate-with charges; the author of this AP article worked with Portland anarchists for this putative expose:

Photos from the events archived online by the group Rose City Antifa demonstrate how in some cases Kent’s allies have associated with people who have expressed white supremacist views. In numerous instances, Gibson as well as Jorgensen, the Proud Boy on Kent’s payroll, were recorded standing next to Jacob Von Ott, who has posted racist and antisemitic views online and expressed admiration for the founder of the American Nazi Party.

Von Ott did not respond to a request for comment sent to an email address listed to him, but he has previously denied that he’s a white supremacist.

“The danger with these groups is it can be an initial foray into this extremist space. And once you’re in this extremist space, you can become further radicalized,” said Emily Kaufman, an Anti-Defamation League researcher who tracks extremist activity in the Pacific Northwest.

Gibson regularly promotes Kent’s campaign on social media and spoke at a Kent fundraiser last year. When it was Kent’s turn to speak at the event, he lavished Gibson with praise, explaining that Gibson “defended this community when our community was under assault from antifa.”

Gibson was acquitted last week on felony riot charges after an altercation with left-wing activists at a Portland bar

Things are at least interesting.

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