GOP challenger looks to take back 8th Congressional District

Jesse Jensen, an Army veteran from Bonney Lake, has emerged as the first Republican candidate to challenge Washington’s newly elected congresswoman, Dr. Kim Schrier.

Schrier was a pediatrician and political newcomer in 2018 when she beat Republican Dino Rossi, becoming the first Democrat ever elected to represent the 8th Congressional District. Now, just 10 months into her first term, Schrier will have to fight to keep the seat Democrats eyed as part of a nationwide effort to capture historically red suburbs.

Jensen, who once worked as a legislative aide to Congressman John Thune (R-SD), said his campaign is a response, in part, to growing partisanship.

“When I was deployed, and in charge of the safety and lives of Men and Women under my command, it never occurred to me or anyone I served with to ask their partisan affiliation” Jensen, who served as an Army Ranger, said in a statement announcing his campaign. “At this very moment, members of the U.S. Congress are on national media outlets decrying their fellow elected officials across the aisle, spouting off partisan rhetoric. We can do better, we must do better.”

In an interview Wednesday with “Q13 News This Morning,” Jensen was asked whether he thought Schrier – who has only been in office for a few months – was part of the problem.

“(It’s) less about the current occupant of the seat and more about sort of the broader rhetoric and the discourse that we hear in politics today,” he said.

“I’ve been to Ellensburg, I’m going to Orting, all across the 8th Congressional District, and I think there’s a lot of folks who feel like they’re not currently heard or represented.”

In a statement Tuesday, the Schrier campaign defended against accusations that she isn’t listening to constituents.

“We thank Mr. Jensen for his service to our country,” the statement read. “Right now we’re not focused on politics or the next election. In the district, Rep. Schrier has held 19 town halls and driven more than 4,000 miles to meet and listen to her constituents. In D.C., she’s focused like a laser on delivering results for the folks back home – like bringing down the cost of healthcare and prescription medications, protecting our environment, and ensuring our economy works for everyone. And that’s what she’ll keep working on every single day."