Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich won party backing for his current reelection bid last year.
Had he waited to seek an endorsement, Knezovich may not have won that endorsement. That’s because, he says, he will not sign the party’s pledge to support the county platform.
“If you don’t agree with certain things, how can you sign it?” Knezovich said.
In March, the party began asking candidates to consider signing a promise to support the platform, though GOP leaders stress they don’t expect candidates to agree with each of the nearly 120 policy statements in the document.
“I’ve taken an oath to serve the community,” Knezovich said in an interview on Tuesday. “I can’t take an oath on top of that.”
The Republican pledge also includes a line where candidates must check yes or no next to the statement: “I will not vote in favor of a tax increase, new or increased fees, or increase spending beyond the rate of inflation or the consumer price index.”
Technically, its county commissioners, not the sheriff who would have a final say on tax increases or rising budgets. Even so, the sheriff said agreeing to that that statement would be hypocritical because he believes a property tax package will be necessary to replace the aging Geiger Corrections Center — a priority he describes as critical to the community.
(Knezovich, state Rep. Matt Shea and former state Rep. John Ahern were listed incorrectly as signers of the platform in a list of Republican candidates that ran in The Spokesman-Review on Sunday. Those candidates won party endorsements last year — before the party asked candidates to consider the platform.)