PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — It’s two weeks until the election, and the candidates are out in full force in the hotly contested race in Southwest Washington’s third district.

With 15 days to go, one candidate in CD3, Republican Joe Kent, is getting help from a former presidential candidate, Tulsi Gabbard, a former congresswoman from Hawaii who recently left the Democratic Party, now unaffiliated.

“We need leaders in Washington, not cowards. We need those with courage to speak the truth, no matter whose feathers might be ruffled,” Gabbard told supporters of Kent. “You want change? Go vote. You want change? Support Joe Kent.”

Tulsi Gabbard at a campaign event for Republican Joe Kent in the race for Washington's 3rd Congressional District, October 24, 2022 (KOIN)
Tulsi Gabbard at a campaign event for Republican Joe Kent in the race for Washington’s 3rd Congressional District, October 24, 2022 (KOIN)

During the town hall, the former Green Beret answered questions from supporters, including how he would respond to border security as an elected official.

“Biden’s going to be impeached for opening our border up for an invasion,” said Kent. “We’re going to go through DHS’ budget and we’re going to say ‘hey, you will go down there, you will enforce our border.'”

His opponent, Democrat and local business owner Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, also responded to border concerns in an interview with KOIN 6.

“I absolutely believe that nations have a right and an obligation to know who’s coming in and what’s coming into their borders. I believe in border security. What I don’t believe in is magical thinking fundings freeze,” said Gluesenkamp Perez, adding concerns about the impact it could have on the local agriculture industry. “They all rely on a prior existing ability to bring in labor when they need to.”

Another big topic of the town hall was the fentanyl crisis. Kent touched on its impact in Southwest Washington in-between major cities like Portland and Seattle.

“The number one killer is fentanyl, getting pumped across our southern border, into our district, and right now, we’re falling victim to that too, and we fall in-between two failed sanctuary cities, Portland and Seattle, I-5 running right through us,” said Kent.

Gluesenkamp Perez says it’s an issue she would also address if elected, bringing up her opponent.

“He’s repeatedly called for the defunding of the federal police and FBI. I don’t think that’s something that’s going to help us address our drug crisis, our crime crisis,” said Gluesenkamp Perez.

Both candidates also addressed early voting ahead of the election in two weeks, with Gluesenkamp Perez urging to fill out ballots soon, while Kent encouraged attendees to join him in turning his ballot in on Election Day.