Spin Control

Verner opts against run for Congress, but keeping 'options open'

Former Spokane Mayor Mary Verner won't challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers this year.

Verner emailed the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Jan. 30 revealing her decision not to run, said Dwight Pelz, chairman of the Washington State Democratic Party.

Verner had talked to Democratic officials late last year and early this year about a possible run.

McMorris Rodgers has used a possible a Verner challenge in fund-raising letters.

"Former Spokane Mayor Mary Verner is considering a run against me, too. My former aide, David Condon, defeated her last November, so we should expect she'll pull no punches in trying to defeat me also," McMorris Rodgers' letter from March 14 says.

(That's a pretty interesting analysis of Verner's mayoral campaign, which some might argue barely lifted a finger in response to Condon's effective campaign ads.)

Verner's decision about Congress isn't surprising. A Democratic candidate for Congress in eastern Washington would have to win big in the city of Spokane in order to win. Given that she lost a city-wide election so recently, Democratic leaders weren't eager about her candidacy and have lined up mostly behind Rich Cowan, the founder of North by Northwest, a local film production company.

Asked in an email about McMorris Rodgers' fund-raising letter and if she might run for office this fall, Verner said that she is "keeping her options open."

Of course, Verner could be referring to other offices, such as county commission. No Democrat has announced for Spokane County Commission District 2 (Mark Richard's district), and that's where Verner lives.




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Jonathan Brunt
Jonathan Brunt is an assistant city editor.

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