A third Republican candidate has entered the race to replace state Rep. John Ahern.
Ben Oakley, the legislative aide for state Rep. Kevin Parker, filed paperwork earlier this week announcing his bid with the state Public Disclosure Commission.
Oakley joins Republicans Larry Keller, the superintendent of the Cheney School District, and Spokane attorney Jeff Holy. Former state Rep. Dennis Dellwo, a Democrat, also is running.
Ahern announced last month that he would not seek reelection for his 6th Legislative District seat.
Oakley, 29, worked for Parker's office for three years until he stepped down last week to run for the office.
Before working in the Legislature, Oakley was the executive director of Rainier Valley Young Life, a nonprofit youth ministry.
He graduated from the University of Washington in 2005 and received a bachelor's degree in communication. He spent his freshman year at Whitworth College.
Oakley said his top issues are improving the state's business climate and education funding. He said he has been endorsed by Parker and Spokane City Council members Mike Allen and Steve Salvatori.
Oakley was a sophomore at Columbine High School in Littleton, Co., when two students killed 12 of their classmates and a teacher in 1999. Oakley met Parker at Columbine; Parker was a volunteer youth counselor at the school at the time.