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Brian Dansel announces candidacy for eastern Washington congressional seat

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(The Center Square) – Ferry County commissioner Brian R. Dansel of Republic has announced his candidacy for eastern Washington’s 5th Congressional District, looking to succeed current U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Spokane, who announced last week that she would not seek re-election.

Dansel, 40, a Republican, previously served as a 7th Legislative District state senator from 2013 to 2017 and was vice chair of both the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources committees. In January 2017, he was asked to join the Trump administration in Washington, D.C. as a special assistant to the Secretary of Agriculture and was an advisor on the National Economic Council.

He was appointed later that year as executive director of USDA’s Washington State Farm Service Agency, then appointed in 2019 as USDA’s Pacific Northwest regional director, overseeing three agencies in a six-state region.

Prior to joining the state Legislature, Dansel was elected as a Ferry County commissioner in 2010 and he was appointed to a commission seat again in 2023.

“I’m running to bring my experience working in local, state, and federal government to D.C. to focus on agriculture, economic development, and improving our country’s stance as a world power,” Dansel said Thursday in a press release announcing his congressional campaign.

Dansel appears to be the first Republican in the region to formally announce a candidacy. Three Democrats – Bernadine Bank, Carmela Conroy, and Ann Marie Danimus – reportedly entered the race several months ago.

Dansel was born and raised in Republic and has lived in eastern Washington his entire life except for the time spent in Washington, D.C.

Dansel said he credits his upbringing “in a rural, working-class family as the basis for (my) desire to engage in the political arena; to give a voice to those who otherwise would be overlooked in the political process.”

Dansel and his wife, Carrie, have two sons.

U.S. House members serve two-year terms.

McMorris Rodgers, 54, announced last week that she was stepping down when her current term ends Dec. 31 after 20 years in office.

Washington’s 5th Congressional District abuts the state of Idaho and ranges from the Canadian border to Oregon. It is largely conservative politically and rural in nature, ranging from timber, ranching, and mining interests up north to dryland wheat production in the Palouse region in the south.