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WA Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers won't run for re-election

caption: McMorris Rodgers speaking at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C.
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McMorris Rodgers speaking at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C.
WIKIMEDIA/GAGE SKIDMORE

U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Spokane) announced Thursday that she will not seek re-election.

"It's been the honor and privilege of my life to represent the people of Eastern Washington in Congress," McMorris Rodgers said in a statement. "After much prayer and reflection, I’ve decided the time has come to serve them in new ways."

McMorris Rodgers has represented Washington's 5th Congressional District since 2005. Her seat is up for re-election this year. She's also currently chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

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Her statement did not indicate what McMorris Rodgers will do next, ending instead on a vague assurance that "the best is yet to come."

But Jordan Evich, a Republican political consultant, told KUOW he believes she has no plans to run for higher office, and is likely to take a job outside of politics.

That's at least in part because of the current dynamics in the House.

Evich said McMorris Rodgers wants to get legislation passed, and that's not happening much these days.

"When you are someone who wants to get something done, it's hard to do that in an increasingly gridlocked environment," he said.

Just this week, former President Donald Trump reportedly helped kill a bipartisan immigration deal that had been championed by leading Republicans in Congress.

McMorris Rodgers is the second member of Washington's congressional delegation to step aside ahead of the 2024 election. U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Gig Harbor) announced in November he would not seek re-election in Washington's 6th Congressional District.

According to McMorris Rodgers' office, she was the 200th woman elected to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives and the first woman to give birth three times while in office.

She's been in the House through some tumultuous times.

Just last year, eight hardline Republicans joined Democrats to oust former Speaker Kevin McCarthy from his job. While all eight of Washington's Congressional Democrats voted to remove McCarthy, McMorris Rodgers and her fellow Washington Republican Rep. Dan Newhouse voted to keep him.

RELATED: Are Washington state Republicans fully behind former President Trump?

McMorris Rodgers also was in the House for both impeachment votes against former President Donald Trump in 2019 and 2021. She voted against impeachment both times.

In January, a supermajority of Republicans in Congress signed an amicus brief to support Trump's place on Colorado's presidential primary ballot. McMorris Rodgers was among them.

"No matter the division, we must unite in prayer," McMorris Rodgers said in her statement Thursday. "And as we do, we will bring hope and healing to broken lives, broken families, and broken systems failing broken people."

Several Democrats have already entered the race in her district.

The Spokesman-Review reported in November that Carmela Conroy, chair of the Spokane County Democrats, and small business owner Ann Marie Danimus were running. The paper also reported Bernadine “Bernie” Bank, an OB-GYN, was considering jumping into the race.

Danimus pointedly acknowledged McMorris Rodgers' exit from the race on X, formerly known as Twitter, writing, "Things just got interesting in the 5th CD."

KUOW's David Hyde contributed to this report.

Clarification notice, 9:55 a.m. on Friday, 2/9/2024: This story has been updated to clarify Jordan Evich's comments about what McMorris Rodgers might do next.

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