Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

McGregor Co.

By Jerry Jones
Gazette Editor 

Whitman votes blue again


August 9, 2018 | View PDF

It was only a paritial count in what amounts to a sample election, but Tuesday night's return for the primary election put Whitman county back on blue side for the big race. Democrat Lisa Brown had 215 more votes than Republican incumbent Cathy McMorris-Rodgers.

The Whitman return compares to Spokane county where McMorris-Rodgers was hanging on to a 500-vote margin in the early returns.

This county's Democratic edge in the hotly contested race for the 5th District follows the blue return two years ago when Whitman was the lone county east of the Cascade ridge to favor Hillary Clinton.

How large of a setback the county clung here rates in the overall 5th District tally for the Republicans is unknown, but it has to be painful. It comes from political terrain which for years turned out solid support for the GOP tickets.

A big part of the change stems from demographics. The growth of Pullman has continued to a point where the vote count there is the heavyweight factor in any county race. It's simplistic to say a "college town" can be expected to crank out a vote on the liberal side of the political spectrum. Pullman has all kinds of voters, but when the count goes down, there it is.

A precinct-by-precinct tally around the county could show McMorris-Rodgers stacking up wins, but she might have lost in a few other precints and posted narrower win margins in others which couldn't offset the wins posted by Brown.

A big factor in this year's race is the Trump factor. McMorris-Rodgers already in her campaign has made a point of separating from Trump's trade war policies which pose a threat to the county's farmers. She has said she doesn't agree with it, but the moves of the Republican president can be a burden for a Republican candidate.

The 5th District, as Brown contends, has become one of the target districts for Democrats in their bid for a "blue wave" in the congressional races.

Another minus for McMorris-Rodger could be her advertising campaign. When hammering a television audience day after day with 30-second attack ads, a candidate has to take precautions against overload.

Advertisements for both candidates have already gone over the edge, but the McMorris-Rodgers campaign seems to be off the track, particulary when it gets charted in front-page articles in the Spokesman Review.


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