U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers has begun her public campaign in her race to become the chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, the fourth-highest ranking position in the U.S. House of Representatives.
She sent a letter to her Republican colleagues this morning that outlines her qualifications. Republicans will choose a new conference chairman in a vote on Wednesday.
"As your Vice Chairman over the past two Congresses, I have worked to be worthy of your trust and support. I am honored to have played a role in communicating our conservative agenda – to build an America that is strong, prosperous and free," he letter says. "On the political front, I’ve helped recruit stellar candidates, raised over $1,000,000 to the NRCC, contributed over $300,000 to candidates and traveled to 51 Congressional districts in 22 states."
The timing of the news release isn't surprising. Part of what helps a member of Congress win votes from colleagues for a leadership spot is a proven ability to raise money for those colleagues' elections. But she couldn't brag about her fund-raising prowess until after Tuesday because her Democratic opponent in Tuesday's election, Rich Cowan, made a big issue out McMorris Rodgers' time spent campaigning in other districts.
(Here is an article in today's S-R about McMorris Rodgers' position on compromise in dealing with the fiscal cliff and if her 2004 pledge not to support tax increases will affect if she will support a deal.)
McMorris Rodgers' push to become conference chairwoman has been well-known for weeks, and last week, Politico reported that she likely has the votes to win, though The Hill today reports that the race between her and U.S. Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga, is tight.
McMorris Rodgers had a huge fund-raising advantage in her race against Cowan ($1.8 million to about $300,000), but she remained in full fund-raising mode throughout. In mid-October, her campaign mailed local supporters that "I need your help to raise an additional $50,000 within the next 7 days to keep our message on TV and radio from now all the way to Election Day."
That pot is different from her leadership political action committee, CMR PAC, which raises money for other candidates. The Federal Elections Commission shows that CMR PAC raised $350,000 and spent $353,000 through Oct. 17.
Below is the full text of the letter she sent to Republican House members today:
I am writing today to ask for your vote to be the next Chairman of the House Republican Conference.
We must continue to put forward a bold vision of conservative reform, using traditional and new media and every channel available to reach America.
As your Vice Chairman over the past two Congresses, I have worked to be worthy of your trust and support. I am honored to have played a role in communicating our conservative agenda – to build an America that is strong, prosperous and free.
On the political front, I’ve helped recruit stellar candidates, raised over $1,000,000 to the NRCC, contributed over $300,000 to candidates and traveled to 51 Congressional districts in 22 states.
Two years ago, voters returned a Republican majority to Congress because they were frustrated that “hope and change” had brought nothing but the same failed Big Government policies of the past.
As your Vice Chairman and in my capacity as Governor Romney’s House Liaison, I’ve tried to give a strong public presentation of our agenda while providing an open forum behind the scenes where Members are respected and heard. If elected Conference Chairman, I’d like to continue and build upon this approach.
Growing up on the family orchard in Washington State, I learned at an early age – no one brings in an apple harvest on their own. It takes a lot of hands to get it pruned, thinned, picked and sold.
I believe the same principle applies to Conference. We’ve got some beautiful ideas ready for harvest but only by working as a team will we get it done.
Again, I humbly ask for your vote. I look forward to discussing my vision for the Conference – as well as your ideas and suggestions – at your convenience.
Cathy McMorris Rodgers