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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

U.S. Representative

Election Results

Candidate Votes Pct
Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R) 166,159 59.46%
Joe Pakootas (D) 113,308 40.54%

* Race percentages are calculated with data from the Secretary of State's Office, which omits write-in votes from its calculations when there are too few to affect the outcome. The Spokane County Auditor's Office may have slightly different percentages than are reflected here because its figures include any write-in votes.

About The Race

In a rematch of the 2014 contest, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers will seek her seventh term in Congress against Joe Pakootas, a Nez Perce Tribe executive. McMorris Rodgers defeated Pakootas handily two years ago, earning 60 percent of the vote. But her share of the vote in the August primary fell to 42 percent, the smallest portion of primary ballots she’s earned since her first successful campaign in 2004.

Washington’s 5th Congressional district hasn’t elected a Democratic representative since Rep. Tom Foley, the sitting Speaker of the House, was ousted by George Nethercutt in the 1994 campaign. Despite his more promising performance in the primary, Pakootas has not drawn any financial support from the national or state Democratic parties, and he has a massive fundraising disadvantage. Pakootas has raised less than $200,000 in his campaign, compared to McMorris Rodgers’ $2.4 million.

Pakootas has accused McMorris Rodgers of being too entrenched in the Washington political system and criticized her support of Donald Trump as president. McMorris Rodgers has geared her campaign toward Congress wresting control of the government from a White House running amok with regulations, and eradicating what she’s called “zombie” federal programs – spending that isn’t authorized annually by Congress.

The Candidates

Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Spokane, Washington
U.S. congresswoman

Education: Graduated from the Columbia River Christian Academy, Kettle Falls, in 1986. Earned pre-law bachelor’s degree from Pensacola Christian College in 1990 and executive MBA from the University of Washington in 2002.

Political experience: Appointed to state House of Representatives, serving the 7th Legislative District, in 1993. Elected to state House in 1994, where she served until joining Congress. Elected to Congress in 2004. Former Vice Chair of House Republican Conference. Elected chairwoman of House Republican Conference in 2013. Serves as ranking member of the House's Energy and Commerce Committee since 2021. 

Work experience: Aide to state representative, 1990-93. Worked at her family orchard and fruit stand for 13 years, prior to election to Congress.

Family: Married. Has three young children.

Joe Pakootas

Inchelium, WA

Education: Graduated from Inchelium High School in 1975. Attended Eastern Washington University. Received executive MBA University of Washington 2006.

Political experience: Former tribal chairman of the Colville Confederated Tribes; member tribal business council 1987-99, 2001-13. Unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Congress 5th District seat in 2014.

Work experience: Enterprise Executive Officer for the Nez Perce Tribe. Former chief executive officer Colville Tribal Federal Corp. Worked in logging, construction. Former executive director of medical and dental services for Kalispel Tribe.

Family: Married. Has four adult children.

Complete Coverage

Sunday Spin: Is “alternative facts” just a nice way of saying “liar, liar, pants on fire”?

There was a time when a politician would be careful about suggesting an opponent was lying. Back in the halcyon “good old days” it was deemed more appropriate to accuse a fellow official of being stupid than dishonest. Now, it seems common to accuse someone of using alternative facts, which may be just a nice way of calling them a liar.

Spin Control: ‘Alternative facts’ abound in Washington political debates

Accusing someone of “alternative facts” seems to be just a slightly nicer way of calling them a liar.

McMorris Rodgers asks that wildfire fighters be exempted from hiring freeze

In a letter sent a day after Donald Trump’s administration announced exemptions to a hiring freeze would be made for seasonal employees, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and other lawmakers requested seasonal firefighters be spared.

Spokane Army Maj. Scotty Smiley to address Republican retreat on invite of McMorris Rodgers

Maj. Scotty Smiley, a veteran of the Iraq War blinded in a suicide attack 12 years ago, will address Republican members of the House of Representatives and Senate this week as part of an annual retreat. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers invited Smiley and his wife, Tiffany, to address lawmakers following an op-ed they published in the Wall Street Journal last month.

GOP retreat veers off message amid questions about Trump’s plan on voter fraud, torture

Congressional Republicans opened their retreat in Philadelphia with lofty plans to address tax and health policy issues, but swiftly slipped off message, thanks to President Donald Trump’s latest announcements Wednesday.

McMorris Rodgers and other Washington Republicans in Congress tell Inslee Obamacare must change

Republicans in Washington’s congressional delegation defended possible changes to Obamacare, saying it is too expensive and is cutting insurance options for some rural residents.

McMorris Rodgers on inaugural, Women’s March: ‘I’m quite concerned about the division I see’

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers attended the inauguration Friday and saw coverage of the march in Spokane on the day that followed. She praised Donald Trump’s speech as a rallying cry for those that have “fallen behind” and also supported the marchers’ right to speak.

Spokane County Republican chair calls on Democrats to denounce booing of Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers

The Spokane County Republican Party chair is calling on her Democratic counterpart to denounce the booing and chanting that drowned out part of Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ speech at Spokane’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day Unity Rally.

Loss of Obamacare could affect 750,000 Washington residents

Washington has about 750,000 residents who get health insurance because of Obamacare. How Congress repeals or revises the system would affect them, the health care system and the state’s economy.

Shawn Vestal: Cathy McMorris Rodgers supported effort to weaken congressional ethics office that determined she likely violated federal law

Did Cathy McMorris Rodgers actually vote to eliminate the ethics watchdog that gave her a big old bite in 2014? The answer seems to be: She would’ve if she could’ve.

Sunday Spin marks the highlights and low-lifes of Politics 2016

Happy New Year. But before we stick a fork in the overstuffed and overdone turkey that was 2016, it’s traditional to give out awards for the political year past. The envelopes, please…

Inslee to McMorris Rodgers: Don’t repeal Obamacare

Gov Jay Inslee asks Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers to back away from plans to repeal Obamacare.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers: I was never offered the Interior job

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers never got a call from the Trump team saying she was likely to be nominated as interior secretary, and never got a call saying someone else was going to be nominated.

Spokane’s greatest election that never was: Baumgartner vs. Knezovich vs. Shea vs. Stuckart vs. Parker vs. Brown

And so the most fascinating campaign in years to hit Spokane ended before a ballot is cast, or even, an election scheduled.

Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke may edge out Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Raul Labrador as Trump’s pick for Interior secretary

Montana congressman, not Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, may be next Interior secretary

Cathy McMorris Rodgers mum after meeting Monday with Donald Trump

After a flurry of reports on Friday that Donald Trump was about to announce Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers as his pick for Interior secretary, Trump has been mum about her potential appointment. As those stories were published Friday by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and others, McMorris Rodgers fell silent on social media.

Knezovich, Stuckart, Baumgartner, Shea announce runs for McMorris Rodgers’ seat

The news that an appointment as interior secretary is imminent for Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers prompted City Council President Ben Stuckart to declare his candidacy for her vacant seat quickly Friday. Republicans Ozzie Knezovich and Michael Baumgartner followed Friday afternoon. Rep. Matt Shea announced his bid late Friday.

McMorris Rodgers expected to be Trump’s pick for Interior secretary; local politicians say they’ll run for seat

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers is expected to be named interior secretary by President-elect Donald Trump,

VA may be ordered to take online appointments

Veterans could make VA medical appointments online under a bill moving through Congress.

How Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers would be replaced if she joins Trump cabinet depends on timing

The length of time Eastern Washington’s congressional seat would remain empty if Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers takes a job in the Trump administration depends on several things.