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As a member of Congress gains stature in Washington, D.C., opponents often have more trouble defeating them in elections back home. Eastern Washington Democrats are hoping the reverse is true this year as Joe Pakootas prepares to run against Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers.
He’s counting on a boost from the public’s general low opinion of Congress, its partisan wrangling and its short time in session will work against the 10-year incumbent who is part of Republican leadership. . .
To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.
National political groups try to find deep meaning in local elections, so it's not surprising the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee wants to spread Tuesday's victory in Arizona over as much of the country as possible.
But they may need a new calculator before they use it as a bellwether for Eastern Washington's 5th Congressional District.
Wednesday afternoon the group dedicated to electing Democrats to the U.S. House sent out a press release with this headline:
Democrats Win Special Election in More Republican District Than Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers’
That, not surprisingly, had us at Spin Control scratching our heads. Didn't the district in question, Arizona's 8th Congressional District, have a Democratic congresswoman, Gabby Giffords, for the last five years? Whereas Eastern Washington's 5th hasn't had a Democratic congressperson since 1994.
How do ya figure “more Republican”? Spin Control asked Steve Carter, the DCCC representative for western states.
There's no one way to rate how partisan a district is, Carter said. “That's one way to look at it,” he said when we brought up the 18-year gap for electing a Dem to the House. The DCCC, however, chose to look at it a different way…
As a political novice running against a member of the congressional leadership, Rich Cowan said he hopes to use what some would consider his weakness against what many would consider Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ strength.
“This is the worst Congress ever, and she’s part of the leadership of it,” said Cowan, who opened a campaign headquarters Tuesday in Spokane.
Spokane attorney Dick Leland is the new district director for Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers.
The congresswoman's office made the announcement today that Leland, who worked for the Farm Credit System before becoming a lawyer, is her pick to replace the former director of her Eastern Washington offices, David Condon.
Condon stepped down last May to run for mayor of Spokane. That worked out so well for him that he is now otherwise occupied.
A former dean of Gonzaga University Law School is among Democrats considering a campaign against Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers next year.
Dan Morrissey, who served as dean from 2001-04 and now teaches corporate law at the school, said he is exploring his prospects for a race and expects to decide by next month.
“I’m testing the waters,” he said, which includes speaking to party gatherings in Eastern Washington’s 5th Congressional District and discussions with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, a group that recruits and raises money for candidates.
Morrissey, 63, is one of several Democrats that party sources have named as a potential challenger to McMorris Rodgers, a member of the House GOP leadership who would be seeking a fifth term in 2012.
Also among the potential candidates: outgoing Spokane Mayor Mary Verner, longtime Spokane television reporter Daryl Romeyn, who won the Democratic primary in the 5th Congressional District last year but lost to McMorris Rodgers in the general election, and Rich Cowan, chief executive officer of North by Northwest productions.
Whoever runs could face an uphill battle…
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers will kick off her 2012 re-election campaign next month with fund-raisers in Spokane, Walla Walla and Colville.
Traditionally, McMorris Rodgers' campaign starters are around St. Patrick's Day, and have Irish green theme. But they're also usually in the year of the election. This time around, they'll be around Easter week, but quite a bit earlier.
Having coasted to victory last November and moving up in a GOP leadership returned to the House majority, there's little doubt McMorris Rodgers will be a tough incumbent to beat in 2012. After giving birth to her second child last year, the early announcement may at least quiet GOP hopefuls who like to speculate she'll give up her House seat to spend more time being a mom.
In other McMorris Rodgers' related news, the Eastern Washington congresswoman got a pat on the back from the Washington Post for her explanation of a budget problem. The Post has what it calls the Pinocchio Test for pronouncements by public officials, and the more factually challenged a statement is, the more Pinocchios it receives.
If, however, the statement is true, it receives a “Gepetto Checkmark” (It's not clear why it doesn't receive a Jiminy Crickett checkmark, since it was the the singing insect that was so big on truthiness.) McMorris Rodgers received a checkmark for her explanation that the federal government borrows $7 for every $10 it spends. The full article can be found by clicking here.
In what may be the most anticipated 5th District Congressional debate in years, Republican incumbent Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Democratic challenger Daryl Romeyn go head-to-head tonight on television.
They’ll be answering questions from a panel that includes Spokesman-Review reporter and Spin Control contributor Jonathan Brunt, public radio’s Doug Nadvornik, and KXLY-TV’s Robin Nance. KXLY-TV’s Nadine Woodward is the moderator. (So Nance and Woodward are switching roles from last week’s U.S. Senate debate.)
The anticipation isn’t because the race is thought to be particularly close, or because the two are recognized as master debaters, but because at various times they both refused to do this debate, the only televised matchup proposed for the race. The agreement wasn’t reached until early Monday, which is way quick for a televised debate.
Because the debate is being taped earlier in the day, there are two chances to see it: 7 p.m. on KXLY-TV and 8 p.m. on KSPS-TV. KXLY will also stream it live on the station’s web site.
And, of course, there will be coverage on spokesman.com this evening, and in Wednesday’s newspaper.
Just days after saying Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ refusal to debate was denying him a voice, congressional challenger Daryl Romeyn refused to debate when she changed her mind and offered to debate next week.
Whether the two candidates will meet face-to-face before the Nov. 2 election seems doubtful, but one thing seems sure. There will be no televised debate next week on KSPS-TV and KXLY-TV.
McMorris Rodgers’ campaign contacted debate organizers on Friday,saying she wanted to withdraw her withdrawal from the Oct. 19 debate. The campaign said earlier in the week that she wouldn’t participate due to “scheduling constraints.” Producer Jill Johnson got tentative approval from the two stations, but couldn’t contact Romeyn until the evening after he’d been interviewed on KXLY-TV’s 6 p.m. newscast where he said he wasn’t going to agree to the new offer.
To read more about the debate over a debate that turned into a non-debate, read this morning’s story.
A few days after saying they couldn’t fit a debate into Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ schedule, the Republican incumbent’s campaign has shifted course and asked if she could debate Daryl Romeyn after all.
The campaign called KSPS-TV producer Jill Johnson this morning, asking if the offer to debate on Channel 7 and KXLY-TV next week was still open. Johnson said she would check with the two stations, and Romeyn, to see if it could be arranged.
Nothing definite yet, Johnson said, because she now needs to contact Romeyn, who’d been told the debate was off. “We’re interested in making it happen,” she said.
Earlier in the week, the campaign had declined that matchup, the one proposed televised debate for the 5th Congressional District, because of “scheduling constraints.”
A post Wednesday in Spin Control and a story in the Spokesman-Review on Thursday noted that McMorris Rodgers had turned down that debate and no others were scheduled, which suggested Eastern Washington’s 5th Congressional District might be without a face-to-face debate for the first time in decades. That story apparently struck a chord with readers, and is currently the most-commented story on the newspaper’s Web site.
UPDATE: McMorris Rodgers’ campaign issued a press release this afternoon saying she has agreed to the debate, although Johnson said she had yet to contact Romeyn to confirm that he could schedule it. The text of the McMorris Rodgers press release can be found inside the blog.
For the first time in decades, there will be no debate or face-to-face forum for candidates in Eastern Washington’s 5th Congressional District race because the incumbent is refusing to participate.
U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ campaign said Wednesday she will not debate Democratic challenger Daryl Romeyn “due to scheduling constraints.”
McMorris Rodgers, seeking her fourth term in the House where she holds a GOP leadership position, declined this week to participate in the one proposed televised debate, a one-hour question-and-answer session next week on KSPS-TV and KXLY-TV, after more than a month of discussions.
She also turned down other forums with Romeyn, a novice candidate whom she outpolled nearly 5-to-1 in the primary and holds a 100-to-1 advantage in campaign contributions in the latest spending reports.
“I don’t think that’s the way American democracy works,” Romeyn, a former television weatherman and outdoor reporter, said. “They must feel putting her out there (in a debate) would do more damage than holding her back.”
McMorris Rodgers said Wednesday her campaign waited to commit to debates because Romeyn was slow to file reports with the Federal Election Commission after the primary and “we weren’t sure how serious of a candidate he was.” The campaign later tried to identify some dates but couldn’t fit them in with other scheduled events…to read more, click here to go inside the blog.
Last week, Spin Control reported on the travails of David Fox, one of five challengers in the 5th Congressional District primary. Turns out he’s got a financial problem as well. Here’s the story from this morning’s Spokesman-Review print edition:
A Democratic candidate for Eastern Washington’s congressional seat is getting a past-due notice from the state this week because the check for his $1,740 filing fee bounced.
David R. Fox, a Port Angeles attorney who moved to Spokane to run against Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, is being warned to pay up in 30 days or see a 1 percent per month interest charge tacked onto the filing fee.
If he doesn’t pay in 60 days, the state will send the bill to a collection agency, a spokesman for the secretary of state’s office said.
The state Elections Office has been trying to get the filing fee from Fox since early July, when the check he wrote was returned for insufficient funds, e-mail correspondence between the office and the candidate indicates. After the check bounced . . .
A Democratic candidate for Congress told police he was assaulted Sunday night near downtown Spokane after making sexual advances to another man.
David R. Fox, a Port Angeles attorney who moved to Spokane recently to run against Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, told police he wasn’t injured in the altercation but he is pressing charges against his alleged assailant, Nathaniel Washington.
Washington, a 32-year-old Spokane resident, is out on $100 bond after being charged with misdemeanor assault and obstructing an officer.
Fox, 49, one of four Democrats in the Aug. 17 congressional primary, is an unconventional candidate who entered the race in the final hour of filing week, and has no known campaign office or website. The phone number listed on his candidate petition and the state’s online voter’s guide rings at his former Port Angeles residence, where the person who answered Thursday said “I really, honestly don’t know” how to contact Fox.
The cell phone Fox used at the beginning of the campaign is no longer in service, and efforts to contact him by e-mail were unsuccessful.
Local Democratic officials say they don’t know Fox, and the party has endorsed Clyde Cordero.
An attorney who primarily performs pro bono work, Fox has a checkered history that includes …
Candidate filing surprise of the day — or at least so far — in the 5th Congressional District: Former TV weathercaster Daryl Romeyn filed as a Democrat to run against Cathy McMorris Rodgers.
Romeyn’s filing, which apparently arrived via the Internet, went up late this morning. We’re still trying to contact him.
Romeyn was a weather reporter at KXLY for several years, then switched over to KREM, where he was a Stormtracker 2 fixture, particularly on the weekends. He also had an outdoors program, Romeyn’s Domain. He left KREM in March, the station said.
One thing he brings to the race that the other two Democrats — Clyde Cordero and Barbara Lampert — don’t, is name recognition.
In other filing news, the U.S. Senate race is up to 14 candidates with the addition of Republican Mike Latimer of Des Moines.