Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Lisa Brown will share a stage Wednesday night in downtown Spokane, their first public appearance together ahead of a high-profile November race for Eastern Washington’s Congressional seat.
The candidates will appear at a Northwest Passages forum to be held at the Bing Crosby Theater, jointly hosted by The Spokesman-Review and KHQ-TV. The event will be televised live on KHQ beginning at 6 p.m. Tickets for the event were free and have already been claimed by the public.
McMorris Rodgers faces what appears to be the closest contest to retain the seat she’s held in Congress since being elected in 2004. The Republican emerged on top of the August blanket primary with 49 percent of the vote. Brown earned 45 percent of the vote, and is seeking to be the first Democrat elected to represent Eastern Washington in Congress since Tom Foley was ousted in 1994’s “Republican Revolution” election.
The two candidates spent the weekend on Twitter firing off charges about GOP plans for Medicare and Social Security. The House Republican budget released this summer calls for changes to the program, but in interviews with The Spokesman-Review last week and on Twitter, McMorris Rodgers said there were no plans to cut benefits or take away coverage for anyone.
“Lisa Brown and her liberal allies should be ashamed of this approach designed to scare seniors into voting for them. I will continue to work to strengthen these important programs for decades to come,” McMorris Rodgers said on her official campaign Twitter account on Friday morning.
But Brown fired back in her own series of tweets, citing an editorial from the Lewiston Tribune and a report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities finding that spending on Medicare would be reduced under House Republican policy.
“The truth matters. According to an analysis of the Ryan budget conducted by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: ‘Over the 2013 to 2023 period, the Ryan budget would cut Medicare spending by a total of $356 billion.’ You voted for it. Who should be ashamed?” Brown responded.
That was the 2011 proposal floated by Ryan. A subsequent plan, scored by the same group in 2015, reported a spending reduction of $129 billion.
Advertisements for each candidate began appearing online, on TV and radio this summer, and the spots show no sign of slowing down as the general election approaches. As of Tuesday, there are 49 days left in the campaign.
KHQ’s Sean Owsley and The Spokesman-Review’s Kip Hill will moderate the town hall event. Other debates are scheduled in October with the Walla Walla Chamber of Commerce, Spokane Rotary 21 and Greater Spokane, Inc.
The doors for the event will open at 4:30 p.m. Those attending who would like to ask a question of the candidates are encouraged to arrive early.
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