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GOP leader McMorris Rodgers wins re-election to House

November 7, 2018
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Democratic congressional candidate Kim Schrier, center, embraces supporters Jenell Tamaela, left, and Dana Rundle at an election night party for Democrats Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Bellevue, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Republican incumbent Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers was re-elected to her eighth term in Congress Tuesday, dashing the hopes of Democrats to topple the highest ranking GOP woman in the House.

McMorris Rodgers, who ranks fourth in House leadership, captured more than 55 percent of the vote over her Democratic challenger, Lisa Brown, a former state Senate leader.

The 5th Congressional District is centered in Spokane and has not elected a Democrat since former House Speaker Tom Foley last won in 1992. McMorris Rodgers won an open seat in 2004 and has generally cruised to easy victories since.

McMorris Rodgers, speaking to cheering supporters in a downtown Spokane hotel on Tuesday night, called the election “a battle.”

“I’m going to keep listening,” she said. “I’m going to keep learning and keep getting results on the issues that matter most.”

Brown, a former chancellor of Washington State University who previously served as majority leader in the state Senate, gave her concession speech to supporters in Spokane during which she repeated many of the themes of her campaign.

“We put this race on the national map,” she said, noting that she decided to run because of concerns over runaway health care costs.

While Democrats were on track to take control of the U.S. House, they will have to wait a few more days on the remaining two competitive races in the state.

Washington is a vote-by-mail state, and voters had a deadline of 8 p.m. to have their ballot postmarked or placed in a drop box, which leaves about half of the vote outstanding at the end of the night. In some of the more competitive races, results may not be known for days as most counties will update vote counts only once a day.

One of the most expensive races in the country is the 8th District, which became a key battleground after Republican Rep. Dave Reichert announced he was retiring at the end of the year.

The race between Dr. Kim Schrier, a Democrat and pediatrician, and Republican Dino Rossi, a former state senator who had previous unsuccessful runs for governor and the U.S. Senate, drew more $25 million, with most coming from outside groups.

Schrier had captured about 53 percent of the vote in early returns.

In a written statement, Schrier said that Tuesday’s numbers “prove that voters in the 8th District want a new voice in Congress.” Andrew Bell, Rossi’s campaign manager, said the campaign was encouraged by Rossi’s lead in one of the counties — Pierce — but were waiting to see what the next day’s ballot drop looked like.

In the 3rd Congressional District in southwest Washington, Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler was leading Democrat Carolyn Long, a political science professor at Washington State University’s campus in Vancouver. When Herrera Beutler was elected in 2010, Republicans claimed a seat the GOP hadn’t held since 1994. The district became even more conservative after redistricting took effect with the 2012 elections.

At the end of the evening, Herrera Beutler had about 52 percent of the vote.

In a written statement, Long said she was proud of her campaign and said she was “committed to making sure every vote is counted and the voice of every voter in Southwest Washington is heard.”

Herrera Beutler said she was “confident that the lead we have tonight will hold.”

Currently there are six Democrats and four Republicans in the state’s House delegation. The other seven incumbents were all easily re-elected: Democratic Reps. Suzan DelBene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Pramila Jayapal, Adam Smith, Denny Heck and Republican Rep. Dan Newhouse.

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AP writer Nicholas K. Geranios contributed from Spokane, Washington.

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For AP’s complete coverage of the U.S. midterm elections: http://apne.ws/APPolitics

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