Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers spent her first term in the U.S. House of Representatives in the majority and the last two in the minority. Now part of GOP House leadership, she’s been vocal and visible as the Republicans try for another reversal with a nationwide push.
Democrat Daryl Romeyn can’t do anything about nationwide trends or the final makeup of the House. The former television weatherman and outdoor reporter is just trying to prove McMorris Rodgers’ return for a fourth term isn’t a foregone conclusion with an underfunded and long-shot campaign that emerged from a crowded primary and surprised leaders of his own party.
Although this may be a tough year for some congressional incumbents, McMorris Rodgers doesn’t have the profile that puts her on the endangered species list. A fiscal and social conservative, she enjoys support from all wings of the sometimes fractured local GOP and from the tea party conservatives. She freely admits Republicans “lost their way” when they controlled both chambers of Congress and the White House, spending too much while running up big deficits. But they’ve learned their lesson, she insists.
Romeyn, not surprisingly, is skeptical. He said the Republican leadership’s “Pledge to America,” which his opponent signed, has some grandiose statements that try to play on the voters’ emotions, hoping they have short memories. While Romeyn has some name familiarity from more than a decade on Spokane-area television stations, his novice campaign faces a huge funding disparity.
Position pays $174,000 a year, plus health care and other benefits.
• Cathy McMorris Rodgers , 41
Bio: U.S. representative, 2005-present; state representative, 1994-2004; former legislative aide. MBA, University of Washington. Married; expecting second child.
Campaign promises: Supports House GOP proposals to repeal health care reforms and replace with smaller, less expensive changes, make 2001 and 2003 tax cuts permanent to spur job growth, cut government, do away with earmarks.
Notable: McMorris Rodgers is one of the highest-ranking women in the GOP caucus and is often seen on the dais when initiatives are announced; she’s also a leader in pushing members to use the Internet and social media.
• Daryl Romeyn , 52
Bio: First run for office. Former television weatherman and outdoor reporter starting in 1980, in Spokane from 1985-2010. Organic farmer, outdoor enthusiast. Bachelor of arts, University of Michigan, 1980. Single.
Campaign promises: Health care reform isn’t perfect, but needs a chance to work while Congress turns its attention to some of the nation’s other problems, such as high unemployment. Proposes federal programs to make healthy forests, use local food in schools. Wants more attention to veterans issues.
Notable: While many Democrats use the donkey logo, Romeyn uses real donkeys, which he had as pack animals for his outdoor segments on TV. His campaign headquarters is in their barn.