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Another Republican enters race for McMorris Rodgers’ congressional seat

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Another Republican enters race for McMorris Rodgers’ congressional seat

Feb 26, 2024 | 9:11 pm ET
By Jerry Cornfield
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Another Republican enters race for McMorris Rodgers’ congressional seat
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Spokane County Treasurer and former state lawmaker Michael Baumgartner is running to replace Cathy McMorris Rodgers in Washington's 5th Congressional District. (Photo courtesy of Baumgartner campaign)

Spokane County treasurer and former state senator Michael Baumgartner on Monday became the newest Republican candidate looking to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

Surrounded by supporters on Spokane’s University District Gateway Bridge, Baumgartner said he is running for the 5th Congressional District seat “to protect the American Dream.” 

“We see all around us serious challenges that are not being fixed: fentanyl and other drugs pouring in the country; law breakers entering by the thousands every day; homeless encampments and forlorn people crowding the sidewalks and underpasses. It’s got to stop,” he said in a statement.

McMorris Rodgers, a Republican, announced earlier this month that she would not seek re-election in the 5th Congressional District that she has represented for nearly two decades. 

The district, bordered by Canada in the north, Oregon in the south and Idaho on the east, encompasses the 10 counties of Spokane, Ferry, Stevens, Pend Oreille, Lincoln, Whitman, Walla Walla, Columbia, Garfield, and Asotin, along with parts of Adams and Franklin counties.

Baumgartner, of Spokane, served in the Washington state Senate from 2011-19. In 2018, he opted to not seek a third senate term, instead running for county treasurer. He won re-election to a second term last November.

In 2012, he ran for U.S. Senate and lost to incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell.

He is the fifth Republican to enter the race, joining state Rep. Jacquelin Maycumber, Ferry County Commissioner Brian Dansel, John Guenther, and Jonathan Bingle.

“Some good people have already announced they’re running for the seat, and I expect more people will throw their hat into the ring,” Baumgartner said.

Three Democrats – Ann Marie Danimus, Carmela Conroy and Dr. Bernadine Bank – are in the race, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.

The deadline for candidate filing is in May. The two candidates with the most votes in the August primary will face off in the November general election.