Spin Control

Al French for county auditor?

Spokane City Councilman Al French appears to be readying for a 2010 election, but what that election is, he won't say.

"I look forward to serving as long as the public will allow me to serve," French said in an interview on Thursday.

Earlier this year, rumors were rampant that French was leading an effort to change the City Charter's term limit rules to allow him to run for City Council president or for a third term on the council. What those rumors neglected to consider is that even if the proposal made it on the November ballot (it didn't) and voters approved, it still would have been too late for him to run in 2009, and another City Council president race doesn't happen until 2011.

While French has been successful running in his northeast council district, he's struggled in other parts of the city. He lost a city-wide council president race to Dennis Hession in 2003 and a city-wide mayoral race to Hession and Mary Verner in the 2007 primary.

He said today that he doesn't foresee a future run for mayor.

"The window of opportunity was there. I took advantage of it. It didn't work out, so we move on," he said. What he's moving on to, he won't specify, but he wouldn't rule out the state Legislature or any county office. If he decides to make a run, he plans to make an announcement by the end of the year, he said.

Some have guessed that French, who contributed last year to the county Republican Party, might run for Alex Wood's state House seat in the heavily Democratic Third Legislative District. French said Wednesday he hasn't done any polling to determine his viability in a Third district race, but he added: "If other people have done that, it's up to others to say."

By not ruling out any county office, a lot of jobs are in play. But most the speculation centers on French running for Bonnie Mager's position on the County Commission. Based on recent history, a Republican candidate likely would have an easier path to victory running for a commissioner seat than in the Third Legislative District.

Or maybe he just wants to be the county auditor.

Stay tuned.




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Jonathan Brunt
Jonathan Brunt is an assistant city editor.

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