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Inside Politics

McMorris wins open Washington House seat

First time 5th Congressional District was open in 62 years

State Rep. Cathy McMorris easily defeated Democrat Donald Barbieri in the race for Washington's 5th Congressional District.
House: WA 05 Updated: 5:33 p.m. ET
McMorris 60%
Barbieri 40%
100% precincts reporting
Election Results Main Page

(CNN) -- Republican state Rep. Cathy McMorris easily defeated first-time Democratic candidate Donald Barbieri to win the open seat in Washington's 5th District.

McMorris won 60 percent of the vote to Barbieri's 40 percent.

It was the first time that the 5th District seat had been open in 62 years. Republican George Nethercutt vacated the seat in his ultimately losing bid to defeat Democratic Sen. Patty Murray.

Former Democratic House Speaker Tom Foley held the seat for 30 years before Nethercutt defeated him in 1994.

A poll taken for McMorris after the primary, which she won handily, showed her at 48 percent and Barbieri at 36 percent in the Republican-leaning district (Bush led Kerry 54 percent to 39 percent in the same poll).

The race was one of a few in the nation that was targeted by both national parties, and attack ads started early and ran often.

Barbieri, 58, earned his bachelor's degree from Santa Clara University and studied urban planning at the University of Washington graduate school. He resigned as CEO of WestCoast Hospitality Corp., which owns Red Lion and WestCoast hotels, to run for office.

McMorris, 35, earned a bachelor's degree in pre-law from Pensacola Christian College and a master's in business administration from the University of Washington before being appointed to a state House seat at age 24. She then served in the state Legislature for nine years, rising to the position of House GOP leader, until stepping down to run for Congress.

In a reversal of party roles, the Republican ads accused Barbieri of being a heartless capitalist willing to lay off workers to improve his bottom line. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's ads claimed McMorris voted against health care coverage for 10,000 children and against raising the minimum wage.

Barbieri endorsed an ad that said his company's 5,000 employees are all in the U.S. while McMorris opposed an effort to ensure that state contracts went to U.S. workers. McMorris responded by airing a commercial accusing Barbieri of supporting tax increases, including creating a state income tax.

McMorris supported caps on non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits to reduce the cost of health care. Barbieri favored a tax credit for small businesses to help them pay for health insurance.

The candidates did agree that their district's top priorities are the economy, affordable health care and protecting the country.

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