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Eye On Olympia

The return of Don Cox?

Former state Rep. Don Cox, a Republican from Colfax, may be headed back to the statehouse.

Cox, 69, who stepped down two years ago in order to spend more time with his family, is local GOP officials' top pick of three replacements for late state Rep. Steve Hailey, R-Mesa. Hailey, who'd been battling colon cancer for the past year, recently died.

The top three contenders -- who will be decided by commissioners from the six Eastern Washington counties that make up legislative district 9 -- are:

1) Don Cox
2) Jeff Holy
3) Hans "Jochen" Engelke

Holy, 53, is a longtime attorney and Spokane police detective who lives in Cheney.

Engelke, 51, is a farmer from the Mesa, the same small Franklin County community as Hailey.

Cox, who served in Olympia from 1999 through 2005, is a former principal and school superintendent who specialized in education policy in Olympia.

The sprawling district covers the Palouse and much of southeastern Washington, including all or part of half a dozen counties: Adams, Asotin, Franklin, Garfield, Spokane, and Whitman. Key cities: Colfax, Colton, Connell, Othello, Ritzville, Cheney, Pullman and Clarkston.

Hat tips: Tri-City Herald and Adam Wilson.

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