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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spin Control

2 Democrats in 5th Congressional District race against McMorris Rodgers

Last week, Democrats had no one to run against Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers for Eastern Washington’s congressional seat. Monday they had two candidates – a novice from Spokane Valley and a perennial office-seeker from Spokane.

Clyde Cordero, an advertising salesman for a Web publication, announced Monday that he would run for the seat that has been reliably Republican since the GOP knocked off the sitting speaker of the House in 1994. Cordero is originally from California, and moved to the Valley about 4½ years ago with his wife and two children.

About the same time his announcement was being e-mailed out, Barbara Lampert, a former nursing aide, was filing her paperwork in Olympia. Lampert has run unsuccessfully for offices ranging from city council to U.S. Senate every year since 1996; she ran for Congress two years ago.

Both talked about the importance of giving voters a choice.

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Cordero, 50, said he believes 2010 may be a year when voters are looking for a “regular person to step forward.” He said he disagrees with McMorris Rodgers’ opposition to the health care reforms and economic stimulus packages the Democratic-controlled Congress passed.
“My viewpoint is, government can play a positive role,” he said.
He personally supported a public option for federal health care reform, but is satisfied with the final law that passed without it. The stimulus package was needed to pull the economy “out of the ditch,” he added, but he’s not sure he would support another round of stimulus spending because he also believes the federal government needs to bring the deficit down and balance the budget. That would mean either significant cuts to programs or higher taxes – or both – but Cordero said he doesn’t have a specific plan except to allow the tax cuts supported by President George W. Bush to expire.
2010 may be a year when voters want to “look beyond the standard political class” he said
Cordero spent four years in the Army and was an intelligence analyst for the 101st Airborne during Operation Desert Storm. He said he disagrees with the decision to invade Iraq in 2003, but believes the United States has a good plan now to get out of that country. He supported the decision to go into Afghanistan, and the current strategy for that war.
 Lampert, 64, has long been active in party politics and local causes. She said she got interested after local Democrats said they didn’t have anyone to run against McMorris Rodgers. It’s a mid-term elections and voters may be in the mood to “mix it up,” she said.
She wasn’t surprised Democrats found another candidate to run, adding “it’s always good to have some competition.” She plans to run a low-budget campaign, which has been her strategy in all previous races, concentrating on candidate forums and debates, not spending money on radio or television advertising.
“The way to win a campaign is to get votes, it’s not about the money,” Lampert said.
McMorris Rodgers, who was a state legislator before winning the 5th District House seat in 2004, has never polled less than 56 percent in a congressional election and won her 2008 race by nearly 2-to-1. She’s a member of the House Republican leadership team and a frequent critic of President Obama’s fiscal and tax policies. In her last filing with the Federal Elections Commission on March 31, she had raised $738,000.
Although Democrats have been struggling to find a candidate, McMorris Rodgers does have a challenge from the right. Randall Yearout, a heavy equipment operator who gives lectures on the U.S. Constitution, announced plans to run as a member of the Constitutional Party. Like Lampert, Yearout ran in 2008 but didn’t make it past the primary.

The Spokesman-Review's political team keeps a critical eye on local, state and national politics.