Pin It
Favorite

Storming the Castle 

Cathy McMorris Rodgers has a healthy advantage in fundraising, name recognition and … well, see for yourself.

click to enlarge Cathy McMorris Rodgers defends her position from crusaders - ILLUSTRATION: JIM CAMPBELL
  • Illustration: Jim Campbell
  • Cathy McMorris Rodgers defends her position from crusaders

Cathy McMorris Rodgers has raised a bit more than $1 million this election cycle, and she still has $620,000 in the bank. That, without a doubt, is a war chest.

According to federal elections records, her five opponents — four Democrats and a member of the right-wing Constitution Party — have raised nothing. Total.

In the last three elections, she sailed to victory despite some well-spoken and well-heeled opponents. And, if you listen to the pundits, 2010 will be a very good year for Republican congressional candidates.

But not everybody thinks things are looking good for McMorris Rodgers. These people are, by and large, her opponents.

“Do people here know who she is?” asks David Fox, a Democrat running against her. “She’s never made the Seattle news. I’ve made the Seattle news.”

The reason why Fox made Seattle news speaks directly to why no one here really knows who he is.

As a Port Angeles attorney, Fox said he was going to run for prosecutor in Clallam County. Days before that race’s filing dead line, he was arrested at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport after allegedly pulling a knife on a ticket agent. He was charged with possessing a lot of stuff (drug paraphernalia, marijuana, a restricted drug without a prescription) and driving while intoxicated, according to press reports.

“That was much ado about nothing. Yes, I did show them a knife. But I wasn’t flashing it. … I wasn’t trying to scare anybody,” Fox says. As for the alleged drug possession, Fox says, “Who cares about marijuana? It wasn’t a big deal. I’m not admitting to anything. It was an illegal search of the car.”

At the last minute, he filed to run for Eastern Washington’s congressional seat. Candidates do not have to reside in the districts they’re running to represent. Fox says his residency is unimportant, mainly because he was born and reared in Othello, where he still has a stake in his family’s farm.

“My heart and soul has always been in the 5th District because I make a lot of farm decisions,” he says, noting that he chips in when his brothers are deciding when to purchase the “circle sprinkler things” for the farm.

“It’s my raison d’étre,” he says about agriculture. “That’s French for ‘reason for living.’”

Still, he expects voters to reject McMorris Rodgers because she’s a “professional politician” who has no qualifications to be a member of Congress. For the record, Fox couldn’t name Spokane’s mayor, its state senators or any county commissioners.

These are many of the positions that Barbara Lampert, another candidate in the 5th, has wanted to fill.

“I’ve run a race every year since 1996,” says Lampert. “It’s too boring of a litany” to name them all.

Nonetheless, Lampert thinks she has a chance against McMorris Rodgers, who she lost to two years ago by finishing third in the primary with 11 percent of the vote. (About 20,000 people voted for her, compared to the 97,000 that voted for McMorris Rodgers.)

Her two main issues are the economy and securing our northern border. “Border security is a problem because four of our counties have an international border,” she says. “Just as many drugs and people are going over that border as they are the other one.”

But how does she expect to overcome the incumbent’s experience and pile of cash?

“I think she’s been in office for several terms … and it’s good to have somebody living in the district recently and not out gallivanting around,” she says. “I think I have sensible ideas and I’m able and willing to represent the people. That is more important than millions.”

Randall Yearout, the lone candidate from the Constitution Party, agrees.

“I think that money isn’t necessarily everything anymore,” Yearout says. “Abandoning principle is what got us where we are.”

As the most conservative candidate running against a very conservative candidate, Yearout made it clear he was not just running against McMorris Rodgers, but against the “Democrat-Republican Party,” which he called “the only game in town.” Yearout has been endorsed by the Campaign for Liberty, and says of the local tea party, “I know they like me.”

As congressman, he says he’ll restore Congress’ impeachment power, state sovereignty and just about anything else he gets from interpreting the “original” meaning of the Constitution.

All important things to the voters, he says. But really, his success at the ballot box is out of his control. “I’m doing this out of obedience … and the results are out of my hands. We just obey and the results are God’s to deal with.”

God notwithstanding, he did take aim at the incumbent. “She was trained as a politician, and by God that’s what she’s done.”

Clyde Cordero, who garnered the endorsement from the local Democratic Party, says it’s this experience that makes McMorris Rodgers’ large war chest almost moot.

“She has name recognition —$600,000 would do me a lot of good because I have no name recognition,” Cordero says. (Daryl Romeyn, a former weathercaster for KXLY and KREM-2, also has plenty of name recognition. He could not be reached for comment.) Despite Cordero’s paucity of cash — he says he has $8,000 in the bank — he’s undaunted.

“People are looking for alternatives right now, instead of traditional politicians,” he says. As for getting people to pay attention, he says there are “guerilla tactics” to employ.

“Look at this guy in South Carolina. With no money, he can get press coverage just because people are curious about him,” he says, pointing to a very unlikely source of inspiration in Alvin Greene, who overwhelmingly won the Democratic Party’s primary last month in that state’s U.S. Senate race with no campaign apparatus at all.

Still, Cordero says he understands he has a long way to go. “In some ways it takes the pressure off. In that sense, it’s not like we have anything to lose,” he says. “It’s not going to be a slam dunk. I’m not going to say I can’t win, because I think I can win.”

And he’s ready to take McMorris on.

“I just wanted somebody in the race that was willing to hold her accountable,” he says. “I may not be bound to win, but I am bound to be true.”

  • Pin It

Speaking of Politics, election 2010

  • Ugly Breakup
  • Ugly Breakup

    The long-running rift between the mayor and the city council president just got worse
    • Jun 9, 2016
  • Beggs for a Solution
  • Beggs for a Solution

    In the three months Breean Beggs has been on the council, he's pitched out-of-the-box ideas for some of the city's stickiest problems
    • Jun 2, 2016
  • Rush To Judgment
  • Rush To Judgment

    A complaint against council assistant Richard Rush tests the council's ability to handle HR concerns — but was Rush's firing fair?
    • May 12, 2016
  • More »

Latest in News

  • Crash > Click > Cash
  • Crash > Click > Cash

    Lawyers and chiropractors already have your name, your address and the police report from your car accident — and they want you to hire them
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • Starting Small
  • Starting Small

    A village of tiny houses in Spokane Valley could serve as a model for fighting homelessness in the region
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • Drastic Action
  • Drastic Action

    Spokane among seven school districts sued by State Superintendent of Public Instruction; plus, trio of police-chief finalists are in town
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • More »

Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

Today | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat
Bodies Human: Anatomy in Motion

Bodies Human: Anatomy in Motion @ Mobius Science Center

Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through Dec. 31

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Nicholas Deshais

  • Rehab Reality
  • Rehab Reality

    Toys are stacked on the front porch of the Isabella House, but the kids are nowhere to be seen. Inside the front door and behind a red, velvety curtain in the imposing 113-year-old house on the edge of Coeur d’Alene Park in Browne’s Addition, their playroom is also abandoned.
    • Jun 3, 2013
  • Studying Spokane
  • Studying Spokane

    One third-year med student relishes his time at UW East
    • Apr 2, 2013
  • Ever Ready
  • Ever Ready

    What happens after you dial 911?
    • Apr 2, 2013
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Lane Ends Ahead

    Spokane wants to improve a mile-long section of Monroe — but that means taking away two lanes
    • Jul 7, 2016
  • Too Smart for School

    What happens when a 12-year-old prodigy tries to go to college in Spokane?
    • Jun 30, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

green zone


marijuana


Briefs


election 2016


trail mix


Readers also liked…

  • Patrolling While Black
  • Patrolling While Black

    Gordon Grant's nearly 30 years as a Spokane cop have been affected by race, but that's not the whole story
    • Jul 8, 2015
  • Shorty's Last Dance
  • Shorty's Last Dance

    Remembering Delbert "Shorty" Belton
    • Jan 7, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation