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GOP leader McMorris Rodgers wins re-election to House

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Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers at the Republican convention in August 2012. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Democrats’ hopes to topple the highest ranking GOP woman in the U.S. House were dashed Tuesday as Republican incumbent Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers was re-elected to her eighth term in Congress.

Another targeted Republican incumbent, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, was also leading her Democratic challenger, Carolyn Long, in southwestern Washington.

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.

In the 3rd Congressional District in southwest Washington, Herrera Beutler had about 52 percent of the vote over Long, a political science professor at Washington State University's campus in Vancouver.

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

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."

Democrats saw a bright spot in the open seat in the 8th District, one of the most expensive races in the country, 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.

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.