Capitol Hill or Natasha Hill: Who will win Washington's 5th congressional district?

If there's a distinction — beyond experience, race, occupation and ideology — between U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and her challenger, local attorney Natasha Hill, it's in the way they answer questions.

When asked tough questions about, say, Donald Trump or the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, McMorris Rodgers reacts like the reelected-13-times politician she is. If she takes an interview at all, sometimes she pauses, choosing her words very carefully. Or she'll pivot, changing subjects to Democrats, or Joe Biden, or Big Tech.

There's a reason why she was in charge of national Republican messaging for a time.

Hill, her challenger, rarely dodges questions, readily grabbing onto third rails that other Democrats have recoiled from. Her 2020 comments calling for the police to be defunded is not part of her platform, she says, but she does believe "throwing more money at this institution of law enforcement has not made our community safer."

How about reparations for Black Americans?

"Absolutely," Hill said. "The question is, what does that look like?"

Any criticism of Biden?

"I look at him as one of those established career politicians who just couldn't give it up," Hill says. "He should have given it up."

Hill knows that winning in the conservative 5th Congressional District is a long shot but believes that there is an opportunity for a message of pro-union Bernie Sanders-style populism to resonate with voters.

She wants to "build our voter base so that regardless of who wins, it reflects the majority of interests in our region," Hill says. "That I can live with."

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About The Author

Daniel Walters

A lifelong Spokane native, Daniel Walters was a staff reporter for the Inlander from 2009 to 2023. He reported on a wide swath of topics, including business, education, real estate development, land use, and other stories throughout North Idaho and Spokane County.His work investigated deep flaws in the Washington...