Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, a Democrat, won election to a House seat in southern Washington on Saturday, according to New York Times projections, defeating Joe Kent, a Republican and retired Green Beret and combat veteran who denied the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election and supported Jan. 6 defendants.
Ms. Perez, 34, who owns an auto shop and is from a rural part of the state, emphasized abortion rights in her campaign. The message appeared to resonate in the competitive district, which former President Donald J. Trump won two years ago by four percentage points.
The seat is held by Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler, one of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Mr. Trump for incitement of insurrection after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. Mr. Kent, a budding MAGA star endorsed by Mr. Trump and backed by Peter Thiel, the billionaire Republican political patron, defeated her in a primary.
The victory by Ms. Perez suggested that Mr. Kent was too extreme for the district. Last year, he spoke at a “Justice for J6” rally in Washington, D.C., supporting those charged with nonviolent crimes in the Jan. 6. attack. His campaign paid a member of the Proud Boys, one of the groups that led the Jan. 6 attack, $11,375 for “consulting” services, according to a report by The Associated Press.
Ms. Perez, the daughter of a Mexican immigrant, leaned heavily into her personal biography in her run, particularly following the Supreme Court decision overturning abortion rights. She spoke publicly about a miscarriage in 2020 that left her having to navigate a phalanx of protesters to gain access to care at a Planned Parenthood clinic.
Mr. Kent had said he favored banning abortions nationwide.