Spin Control

Sunday Spin: Pick your race, then file

Last week’s steady stream of candidates announcing they plan to run for some office or another is a sign that filing week is nearly upon us.

May 12 through 16 is the time for a candidate to go from talking about running for office to putting money where his or her mouth is, and then attaching it to the required paperwork and filing it with county or state elections officials.

Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton had a word of advice recently for would-be candidates contemplating their runs. It boils down to “do all your contemplating before filing and paying your fee.”

Apparently some candidates in the 4th Legislative District have been talking about filing early in the week for one House seat, and maybe switching later in the week if the field for the other seat seems to offer better prospects.

Right now, the state Public Disclosure Commission lists seven House candidates in the 4th, all Republicans. Five haven’t indicated which seat they will seek, leaving the space marked “Position No.” blank, or putting a U – presumably for “undecided” – or a NA, which usually stands for not applicable.

In this case, the position number is very applicable. You file and run for one or the other, and must say so on your campaign signs and literature and candidacy petitions.

Presumably, this is all about jockeying to see who will run for the seat that was vacated last year by long-time Rep. Larry Crouse, to which Leonard Christian was appointed. Christian is willing to say he’s seeking No. 1, which he currently holds. Yet Rep. Matt Shea, who has held the No. 2 position since winning it in 2008, considers it “NA”.

Shea has already endorsed Robert McCaslin for the House, who is also running NA, but presumably not NSS, or Not Shea’s Seat.

Josh Arritola of Chattaroy, the head of a management consulting firm, made the formal announcement last week that he’s running against Shea. He may be waiting for Shea to pick a number to replace the U on his form and put it to his web site. (There was a time when candidates chose their race before designing a web site, but that’s probably so 2000s.)

The position number can be added to a web site with a few key strokes by a programmer. It can be attached to a yard sign or a bill board with stickers. Changing it on a petition of candidacy after it’s filed with elections officials next week isn’t so easy. In fact, it’s not possible, Dalton said. A candidate can switch races only by withdrawing from the first race, which means forfeiting that filing fee, then filing new paperwork for the other race. And paying the fee again.

Elections officials won’t mind taking two fees from the same candidate. But it might not sound good for anyone running as a fiscal conservative in the Spokane Valley’s 4th District. And does anyone run as anything else in the 4th?




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Jim Camden
Jim Camden is the Olympia bureau chief, covering the Legislature and state government. He also is a political columnist and blogger for Spin Control.

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