Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

McMorris Rodgers Not Running For Reelection


Illustration by Mikayla Kelly

Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) has decided not to seek reelection in this year’s election. McMorris Rodgers’ decision is poised to leave a significant void in the Republican Party, especially because it has not been decided yet who will run instead of her and the close margin by which Republicans hold the House of Representatives. 

Serving as U.S. Representative for Washington’s 5th congressional district (which includes Ferry, Stevens, Pend Oreille, Lincoln, Spokane, Whitman, Walla Walla, Columbia, Garfield and Asotin counties, along with parts of Adams and Franklin) since 2005, McMorris Rodgers has played a crucial role in shaping legislation and policies on both local and national levels. 

A stalwart Republican, she has been involved in various legislative initiatives often championing causes related to healthcare, energy and veterans’ affairs. Notably, she played a pivotal role in the passage of the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, a landmark piece of legislation aimed at providing financial stability for individuals with disabilities and their families. During her time in Congress, McMorris Rodgers has also advocated for anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, and voted against the Respect for Marriage Act in 2022, which codified protections for same-sex and interracial marriage.

Kary Isaacson, Chair of Walla Walla County Democratic Central Committee shared her thoughts about McMorris not seeking reelection.

We were really encouraged by the general election results in 2023 that clearly showed there is a high percentage of people in the County who are not far right. Voters vote for good people whose political views are moderate, and focus on practical, local issues that really affect people’s day to day lives. That is the Democratic Party,” Isaacson said.

“I think the balance of power is shifting towards moderate Democrats, and I expect that we will see proven leaders in our community stepping up to run,” said Isaacson.  

McMorris Rodgers’ office released a statement on Feb. 8 announcing that she would not run for reelection.

“After much prayer and reflection, I’ve decided the time has come to serve them [the people of Eastern Washington] in new ways. I will not be running for reelection to the People’s House. For years now, my team and I have lived and worked by our values of having fun while we SERVE — to seek excellence, that everybody matters, to responsibly own it, practice vigilant integrity and embrace change. I’m proud of how it’s helped us be more effective and deliver results to my district and the hardworking people of this country,” McMorris Rodgers said in her statement. 

Reflecting on her years in office, she highlighted the guiding values that have shaped her approach to public service. 

“We will spend this year honoring the Committee’s rich history — plowing the hard ground necessary to legislate on solutions to make people’s lives better and ensure America wins the future,” said McMorris Rodgers in her statement. “‘The best is yet to come.’

As speculation swirls around the upcoming race for Washington’s 5th congressional district, observers are noting a potential shift in political dynamics, as Democrats express optimism about the prospect of reclaiming a seat that has long been held by Republicans. Whitman Votes Co-Chair, Max Barth, points out the emergence of three Democratic candidates compared to a singular Republican contender, signaling a renewed effort by Democrats to secure representation in a district that has predominantly leaned conservative over the past decade. 

“It seems like Democrats are hoping they will get a chance to retake the seat, which has been Republican for a while. I think there’s three Democrats listed and running and it sounds like there is one Republican. Looking at the numbers from the last 10 years or so, it has been mostly Republican probably because it is a more conservative area of the state,” said Barth.

This development sets the stage for a dynamic and closely-watched electoral contest as both parties vie for control of this historically-Republican congressional seat. 

Neither the county nor the national GOP responded to a request for comment prior to publication.

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