The two candidates seeking Eastern Washington’s seat in Congress have spent the past several months answering questions about health care, immigration, the environment and taxes.
They spent Monday afternoon talking about condiments.
Ahead of the conclusion Tuesday of the closely watched contest between Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Lisa Brown, both women agreed to field questions on the lighter side on Election Day eve, which included that all important question: Fry sauce, or ketchup?
For the congresswoman, it’s that magical combination of ketchup and mayonnaise that does the trick.
“I like a little spice with the fries,” McMorris Rodgers said.
Brown went off the menu and said a fry is best served plain.
“I’m really serious about my fries. I don’t want to mess them up,” she said, listing the fries at Durkin’s Liquor Bar and Luna on the South Hill among her favorites.
Both candidates picked comedies as their favorite films of all time, with Brown selecting 1998’s Cohen Brothers comedy caper “The Big Lebowski.”
“The Dude abides,” she said, laughing, a reference to Jeff Bridges’ famously lazy protagonist.
McMorris Rodgers opted for Rob Reiner’s fairy tale classic “The Princess Bride,” a film she called “a great combination of a fun love story and great humor.”
“It has some of my favorite lines in it,” McMorris Rodgers said, launching into the famous boast by the rogue Vizzini condemning Plato, Aristotle and Socrates as “morons.”
In the battle of iconic Riverfront Park landmarks, Brown said she preferred Sister Paula Turnbull’s “Garbage Goat” because of its ties to Expo ’74, while McMorris Rodgers went with the historic Looff Carrousel.
Their two favorite presidents reflected the candidates’ political parties. McMorris Rodgers picked Abraham Lincoln.
“I really admire his leadership during one of the most difficult times in our country,” McMorris Rodgers said. “He was a uniter.”
Brown chose Barack Obama, whom she endorsed early in his 2008 run for the presidency.
“He is from Illinois, which is where I’m from,” Brown said. “Also, he served as a state senator. Just everything about the story of how he became president, what he did while he was there, I admire very much.”
In the realm of fictional lawmakers, the pair picked polar opposites. Brown chose comedic sidekick Pedro, whose class president run in the 2004 offbeat indie “Napoleon Dynamite” inspires the movie’s signature dance sequence with Jon Heder wearing an iconic “Vote for Pedro” shirt.
Brown bought one for her son, Lucas, after the movie came out, she said.
“It’s just such a great story,” Brown said. “He’s an underdog.”
McMorris Rodgers chose Jefferson Smith, the protagonist of Frank Capra’s 1939 film “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” Smith, the unlikely choice by party insiders to fill a vacated seat in Congress, is portrayed by legendary actor Jimmy Stewart.
“He was just a normal, everyday guy that went to Washington, D.C.,” McMorris Rodgers said. “I appreciated his common sense and focus on doing the right thing.”
If you’re still looking for where the candidates stand on issues that don’t involve fast food and actors, the answers McMorris Rodgers and Brown gave on many of the major legislative topics in the congressional race are available online in The Spokesman-Review’s special election section.
Visit spokesman.com/elections to see where the candidates stand on gun control, Social Security, foreign policy and more.
And don’t forget to fill out and turn in your ballot by 8 p.m. Tuesday. Even if you can’t stand the taste of fry sauce.
Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter
Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter.