SPOKANE, Wash. - Former state lawmaker and WSU Spokane chancellor Lisa Brown announced she will challenge Republican Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers for her seat in Washington's fifth congressional district.
Brown left the state legislature in 2013, after serving for 20 years. At WSU's Spokane campus, she was involved in the process of getting the university's medical education underway. The Elson Floyd College of Medicine welcomed its first 60 students two weeks ago.
She concedes her announcement was not much of a surprise to the community- when Brown stepped down as chancellor in May, there was discussion of a return to politics. She has been holding meet and greet events throughout the district this summer, and says there is a sense that McMorris Rodgers is “out of touch.”
The Congresswoman, who is in Spokane today, was unavailable to speak on camera with KXLY, but her campaign office sent us this statement:
"I look forward to having a civil discussion of the issues. I listen to and vote for our district. I think voters will discover that my opponent does not fit Eastern Washington very well. Her record is of continual tax increases, more government spending and regulations."
To that, Brown responded that she has worked the issues that matter to Eastern Washington. She says healthcare will likely be a major topic addressed by her campaign.
She is not the sole challenger. Matthew Sutherland will run as a Democrat. Eric Agnew will run as an independent. City Council President Ben Stuckart had announced his plans to run as well, but withdrew earlier this year for family medical reasons.
According to the Congressional Research Service, the average house of representatives term length is 9.4 years. Washington's fifth district is known for meeting, and often exceeding that average. Tom Foley was began his first term in 1965, and remained in the seat until 1994, losing the election to George Nethercutt. Nethercutt used the length of Foley's term in his campaign rhetoric. He then served for 10 years, losing a bid for the Senate in 2004. In her initial election that year, and in every reelection since, Cathy McMorris Rodgers has won with at least 56 percent of the vote. She is in the middle of her twelfth year in Congress.
Only seven of Washington's current 10 congressional districts existed in 1965. Since then, District 1 has had seven representatives. District 2 has elected four. Districts 3 and 4 have seen six, and districts 5 and 6 have had three. District 7 has elected five.