GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. rally Friday evening at the Spokane Convention Center, and is picking up endorsements in and around Spokane.
State Rep. Matt Shea, Spokane County Treasurer Rob Chase, and Republican Central Committeemembers John Christina of Spokane and Karen Skoog of Elk all endorsed Paul, the campaign announced today.
Many of those endorsements come as no surprise. Chase, like Paul, was once a Libertarian candidate; he became active in the Paul campaign in 2008 and was part of the Texas congressman's delegation that helped shape the Spokane County GOP platform.
Shea, R-Spokane Valley, shares many of Paul's views on state's rights, limited government and less spending. He was among legislators who met with GOP contender Rick Santorum on Monday, when the former Pennsylvania senator was in Olympia. Shea was complimentary of Santorum but said he wasn't endorsing him, adding he thought the Spokane Valley's 4th Legislative District would probably split between Santorum and Paul.
Christina was an alternate delegate to the 2008 convention for Paul.
Paul's visit is the latest sign of the increasing interest Washington and Idaho are drawing this year, as the GOP nomination contest continues with four candidates. Santorum was in Washington on Monday and Idaho on Tuesday.
Mitt Romney is scheduled for a fundraiser in Seattle on March 1, and either Romney or one of his family members may be in Spokane before the March 3 caucuses.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has no campaign events scheduled in the region at this time. "Stay tuned," campaign spokesman Lew Moore said. Gingrich does expect to make a stop in Washington, and the campaign would like to have him visit both sides of the state, Moore added.