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Spokane Councilman, former Matt Shea aide running for McMorris Rodgers’ Congress seat

By Emry Dinman, The Spokesman-Review
Published: February 22, 2024, 1:37pm

Spokane — Voters have two more choices to consider for a seat in Congress being vacated by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

Joining the race are Spokane City Councilman Jonathan Bingle, a former pastor and current owner of Bent Trivia and Bent Events, and Rene Holaday, a radio host who worked as a legislative aide to former state Rep. Matt Shea and who champions the Liberty State movement, often under the radio pseudonym Lady Liberty.

State Rep. Jacquelin Maycumber and Ferry County Commissioner Brian Dansel, both Republicans, have also announced bids for McMorris Rodgers’ seat.

“I just feel like there’s a real battle for the soul of America,” Bingle said. “I want someone in this position who’s going to fight. Looking at the people who are in the field, I don’t feel that way yet.”

Bingle, a Christian conservative ally of the incumbent congresswoman, launched his campaign website on Wednesday, announcing his vision for an “American Revival” in the face of “the enemies of freedom, pessimists, and misguided activists…”

His priorities include border security, improving veterans’ healthcare access and both conservation of “God’s Country” and combatting “environmental extremism,” according to his campaign site.

“Make no mistake that an entire industry is formed by single-interest alarmists who have claimed for decades that ‘the sky is falling’ while they make millions as lobbyists, fuel their international travel and create laws that favor their own industrial interests,” his campaign site states.

He is opposed to removing the Snake River Dams and eliminating natural gas as an option for heating homes in the region.

“Climate change is happening, and humans are having an effect on it,” Bingle said in an interview. “I think you can debate the extent of the effect, but we are having an effect. But I think there’s a real human element that are forgotten, like this immediate move to electric vehicles when those are expensive… forcing people into a space that’s not realized yet brings challenges to people.”

He points to his record as a council member, including passing a law criminalizing open drug use, making it an arrestable offense to be in city parks after hours and eliminating parking requirements near transit to lower the costs for new residential development.

Bingle first ran for mayor of Spokane in 2019, losing in the primary to Nadine Woodward, who also is considering a run for Congress, and Ben Stuckart, who had been considering running as a Democrat but confirmed Wednesday he would not run. Bingle won his seat on the Spokane City Council in 2021 and represents the northeast third of the city.

Holaday, who appeared on Radio Free Redoubt to discuss her candidacy on Monday, did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday. She is the co-host of the locally broadcast Christian political talk radio program “The Morning Commute” on the Liberty Broadcasting System. She ran unsuccessfully in 2010 and 2018 as a Republican candidate for the Stevens County Commission.

In an email, Holaday described herself as a “conservative Christian MAGA Republican” with “an 18 year history of effectively fighting globalists/Communists,” railing against “rampant election fraud and the wide open border invasion.”

“I will help restore this nation to ‘One nation, UNDER GOD,’” Holaday wrote. “Without God over this nation, we will be destroyed by the Communists. Eastern WA can not afford to send another RINO or career politician that doesn’t care about the people to D.C.”

In 2012, Holaday self-published The Perils of Sustainable Development, a book heavily focused on the United Nation’s Agenda 21, which Holaday claims is a plan to “completely abolish things like private property rights, individual rights, air conditioning, driving of vehicles, rural living, meat consumption, livestock ownership, farming, logging, and much much more.”

Agenda 21 is the name of a 1992 nonbinding resolution signed by then-President George H.W. Bush, a Republican, and the leaders of 177 other nations signaling a collective intention to address overpopulation and sustainability in the 21st century.

In her email, Holaday claimed that former President Donald Trump was given a copy of this book by Dansel, who served as an adviser to the National Economic Council and the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the Trump administration and has also announced a bid for the same Congressional seat. Dansel, a former state senator, has denied this , according to an Inlander story from 2019.

Holaday was fired as a legislative aide to Shea in 2019 after giving a speech at a Liberty State Gala in Spokane Valley, during which she said that there was a growing sentiment among state legislators who supported creating a 51st state by turning Eastern Washington into its own state: “It’s either going to be bloodshed or Liberty State.”

In a 2019 interview with the Inlander, Holaday clarified that she hadn’t heard these sentiments firsthand, but had heard them relayed by from Shea.

“They mean that, as soon as the people found out what had been passed by the Democrats, that they were going to respond in a very adverse way,” Holaday said at the time.

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