A 39-year-old Spokane attorney with the backing of prominent local Democrats will face Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers for her seat in Congress in November.
McMorris Rodgers, who at age 53 is seeking her 10th term in Congress, finished first in balloting with 51% of the vote counted in Eastern Washington on Tuesday. Democratic voters in the district put Natasha Hill second, with 30% of the vote counted Tuesday. Fellow Democratic candidate Ann Marie Danimus, 51, won 11% of the Tuesday vote.
The congresswoman told supporters at Barrister Winery that she hoped Republicans would perform well in the fall.
“Before the pandemic our economy was better, we said yes to American engagement,” McMorris Rodgers said. “You know that was the formula, and that’s what we need to start doing again.”
Hill, speaking to supporters at the Saranac Public House downtown, said she believed she’d bring voters a new choice in November.
“It feels great. My team and I have worked really, really hard,” Hill said at a gathering of Democrats on Tuesday evening. “But really, this reflects what the people here in Eastern Washington are looking for. And that’s change. I’m somebody new.”
Danimus said she’d called Hill on Tuesday evening to congratulate her on becoming the nominee.
“I will be supporting all the Democrats on the ticket how best I can,” Danimus said.
The ballot also included Sean Clynch, 60, a former United Nations field officer and local substitute teacher, who was running as a Republican. Clynch won 8% of the primary vote counted Tuesday.
Both Hill and Danimus had largely saved their attacks for McMorris Rodgers in the contest, focusing on her long tenure in office, support for policies limiting abortion and contraception as well as her ties to former President Donald Trump. They had posted similar fundraising totals in the weeks leading up to the primary, and had split endorsements from local Democratic groups. Hill has the backing of Washington Commerce Director Lisa Brown, the former state senator who ran unsuccessfully against McMorris Rodgers in 2018. She’s also earned the endorsements of state Sen. Andy Billig and state Reps. Marcus Riccelli and Timm Ormsby.
McMorris Rodgers holds the same commanding fundraising lead she’s held against Democratic challengers in the past. Her advertisements had focused on inflationary woes, specifically at the gas pump, and laying the blame at the feet of President Joe Biden. She’s earned at least half of the August primary vote in every election except her 2018 contest against Brown, and in her first election in 2004.
Staff writers Carly Dykes and Nwannediya Kalu contributed to this report.