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Tuesday, February 18, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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McMorris Rodgers pursuing majority leader position in Congress, according to Politico

U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers speaks to the crowd at the Republican gathering at the Davenport Hotel Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers speaks to the crowd at the Republican gathering at the Davenport Hotel Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Staff and wire reports

The Washington Post and Politico are reporting that Spokane’s Republican Congresswoman is a candidate for the second-highest office in the House of Representatives.

And Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers isn’t denying the reports.

Even before Speaker of the House John Boehner announced Friday that he was resigning, McMorris Rodgers was rumored to be pursuing the majority leader position, which is just below speaker.

But she denied those rumors to The Spokesman-Review at the time.

An attempt to reach her Saturday was unsuccessful, but she released a statement that didn’t address her interest in the position. Her press secretary, Ian Field, declined to say if she is pursuing the job or if she is interested in it.

Politico reported late Friday that McMorris Rodgers is a candidate for the position and “was busy calling dozens of fellow Republicans on Friday afternoon in a bid to round up votes, according to sources close to her.”

In her statement released Saturday, she perhaps made a hint about her intentions. After saying that her top priority is Eastern Washington, she said “DC can learn a lot from our values, our experience, and our pioneer spirit – finding solutions and making things happen.”

The majority leader currently is Rep. Kevin McCarthy, of California, who is considered the favorite to succeed Boehner.

Competition for majority leader likely will include the current majority whip, Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana. The majority whip is the third-ranking position. McMorris Rodgers currently is the chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, the fourth highest. She won the position in a vote in 2012.

McMorris Rodgers, 46, served in the state house before elected to Congress in 2004.

Before ascending to his current post, Scalise was chairman of the Republican Study Committee, a group of GOP lawmakers considered the most conservative in the House. In his whip campaign, he boasted about his conservative credentials and pointed out that he’d be the only GOP leader from the South, which had a major role in giving Republicans their largest House majority in decades.

Scalise faced questions last year about some of his Louisiana ties. Six months after his election as whip, it came to light that he had spoken in 2002 to a white supremacist group founded by Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. Scalise apologized for the speech and said he was unaware of the group’s racial philosophy when he agreed to speak as a state legislator.

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