U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers launches re-election campaign

Lines surround both sides of the stage as U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., fields questions from a wide range of audience members during a town hall-style meeting at Walla Walla Community College in 2009.

Lines surround both sides of the stage as U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., fields questions from a wide range of audience members during a town hall-style meeting at Walla Walla Community College in 2009. U-B file photo

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Cathy McMorris Rodgers made her re-election campaign official Monday, announcing she’ll seek a sixth term in the House of Representatives.

The announcement is a formality as the Spokane-area Republican has already collected some $1.3 million for the upcoming campaign since the 2012 election ended.

In Walla Walla today, McMorris Rodgers was to meet with Walla Walla County commissioners this morning and attend a campaign luncheon at the Marcus Whitman Hotel & Conference Center.

Democrats have recruited Joe Pakootas, chief executive officer of the Colville tribal business operation, to run against her. David Wilson, former head of Interface College, is running as an independent.

In her announcement, McMorris Rodgers said her priorities for the past two years have been to control federal spending and stop regulations that hurt economic growth. She said she wanted to keep working to find “positive, pragmatic solutions for tax reform, immigration and health care.”

She has repeatedly voted with House Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

McMorris Rodgers was investigated earlier this year by the Office of Congressional Ethics after a former staff member claimed her employees improperly did campaign work on congressional time in 2012. She insisted her staff knew and followed all rules separating congressional and political work.

House Ethics Committee leaders said they will continue to review the case but would not assign it to a special panel for further investigations, meaning it’s unlikely she’ll face sanctions for the allegations.

A former state legislator first elected to an open seat in the 5th Congressional District in 2004, McMorris Rodgers rose through GOP leadership ranks and is now the House Republican Conference chairwoman. An early supporter of Mitt Romney, she was a speaker at the 2012 Republican National Convention and gave the official Republican response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address in January.

She is the highest-ranking Republican woman in the House and often presents her party’s counter to Democratic claims of GOP legislation they label “a war on women.”

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