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We the People: Parties in power often lose dozens of seats in Congress every midterm, but this year could be different

Each week, The Spokesman-Review examines one question from the Naturalization Test immigrants must pass to become United States citizens.

Today’s question: Why do U.S. representatives serve shorter terms than U.S. senators?

When the Constitution created the House of Representatives and the Senate, the founders had a vision.

The House would be larger, more diverse and more representative of the people. The Senate would be a smaller body where meaningful debate could take place.

To help the U.S. House more closely follow public opinion, representatives in the House serve shorter, two-year terms than the Senate’s longer, six-year terms.

A changing public opinion means that the membership of the U.S. House of Representatives changes often, and that most midterm elections end with the party in power losing a significant number of seats.

This year, however, things could look a little different. As of Saturday evening, Democrats retained control of the Senate after days of uncertainty, while control of the House was still up in the air as the outcomes in a number of key races across the country were still being decided.

Cornell Clayton.
Clayton

“By any historical standard, this is a huge victory for Democrats,” said Cornell Clayton, director of the Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service at Washington State University.

As of Saturday, the number of seats Democrats will lose remained unclear, but Clayton said it likely will be much lower than the average.

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Spokesman-Review

Most of Washington’s congressional incumbents prevail but races still too close to call in 3rd and 8th districts as Democrats hold leads

Most of Washington’s congressional incumbents prevailed in Tuesday’s general election, but a few districts may still hold some surprises as more votes are counted in the coming days.

The two that most people are watching: the 3rd Congressional District where Republican U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler lost in the primary and the 8th Congressional District where U.S. Rep. Kim Schrier is seeking another term.

Cornell Clayton.
Clayton

Cornell Clayton, director of the Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service at Washington State University, said in an interview last week he was closely watching the 3rd Congressional District race as it could be a signal for the rest of the country as to whether there were any moderate Republicans left who would vote for a Democrat or sit out, instead of voting for a Trump-backed candidate such as Joe Kent.

On Wednesday, Clayton said he was surprised to see the initial results in the 3rd but that if Kent loses it could follow similar trends across the country this midterm where Trump-endorsed Republicans lost.

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Spokesman-Review

Tuesday’s election could bring a number of surprises. Here are some races to watch:

The most expensive U.S. Senate race in state history. No official Republican for the first time in decades in the Secretary of State race. A number of key legislative seats still up in the air. And voters for the first time selecting members of a five-member Spokane County Commission.

Results of Tuesday’s midterm election could be full of surprises, with a number of key races getting tighter.

Ballots must be returned to a drop box or postmarked by 8 p.m. that day. For more information on where to vote, visit VoteWA.gov or your local county elections office. County auditors have encouraged voters to get their ballots in earlier rather than later to allow for quicker processing and faster results.

Cornell Clayton.
Clayton

Cornell Clayton, director of the Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service at Washington State University, called this midterm election cycle the “strangest” he’s seen.

“Obviously, turnout’s going to be key,” Clayton said.

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Spokesman-Review

Hill says more should be expected of elected officials

Natasha Hill visited the Washington State University Foley Institute in Pullman on Thursday to discuss her run for the House of Representatives, as well as potential runs for the position in the future, universal health care and building a community.

Hill is the Democratic candidate in the Washington 5th Congressional District race in Tuesday general election against Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who is seeking her 10th term in Congress. Hill currently runs her own law practice in Spokane.

Hill said she believes many of the Democratic Party’s policies were too little, too late and that she wants more done for students, the elderly and in health care.

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Moscow-Pullman Daily News

McMorris Rodgers touches on election fraud, fentanyl

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers spoke with Washington State University students about current events and gave them an inside look at her work in the U.S. Congress on the Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday.

McMorris Rodgers, who was first elected for Washington’s 5th Congressional District in 2005 and is seeking a 10th term, appeared for a talk at the Foley Institute in Pullman. The Republican is being challenged by Democratic candidate Natasha Hill in the Nov. 8 general election.

While at WSU, McMorris Rodgers answered questions about accusations of the “stolen” 2020 presidential election, fentanyl and the claim President Joe Biden’s administration will hire 87,000 new Internal Revenue Service agents.

When asked by an attendee whether she believes the 2020 presidential election was stolen, McMorris Rodgers said she doesn’t believe that accusation, but wants concerns to be heard.

“No, I do not believe the last election was stolen — I voted to certify the election. I believe that President Biden is the legitimate president of the United States,” McMorris Rodgers said.

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