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Spin Control

Posts tagged: steve tucker

Bomb suspect arrest surpised Tucker

OLYMPIA — News that the FBI was making an arrest in the MLK Day bomb plot came as a surprise here yesterday — not just to legislators who have been ensconced in the capital for two months but to Spokane County's top law official.

Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker was in Olympia for “Law and Justice Day”, a day set aside for the state's prosecuting attorneys to lobby their legislators. He was enroute from one Spokane-area senator's office to another's Wednesday morning about the time FBI agents (and some media) were closing in on Kevin Harpham's home near Addy.

Bumping into Tucker on the sidewalk, I decided to see if I could pick up a tidbit of news to feed back to Spokane. So, I asked,  the FBI is picking up someone in MLK parade bomb attempt?

They are? he replied, surprised. When told that was the word coming out of Spokane, he seemed pleased, but still surprised, and asked if I had any  more details. The FBI, he said, always keeps things close to the vest.

A short time later, I happened upon Rep. Timm Ormsby, a Spokane Democrat who's district includes the downtown route of the parade, and mentioned the feds were making an arrest, again hoping for some little nugget of news. His brother, Mike Ormsby, is, after all, the U.S. attorney in Spokane.

Rep. Ormsby was surprised, too, and asked who and where. US Atty. Ormsby doesn't talk about the cases, he said.

Run for prosecutor ignores law

Deputy Kootenai County Prosecutor Jim Reierson has been campaigning for write-in votes for the top prosecutor spot in Spokane County, but it’s a race he can’t legally win.

Running as a candidate who prefers the “Law and Order” Party, Reierson lost his bid for that job in the primary. Washington state has statutes and administrative law that prevent a primary loser from filing a petition for a write-in campaign in the general, and without such a petition on file, write-in votes aren’t tallied.

“The votes will not be counted,” State Elections Director Nick Handy said.

“No write-in vote for that candidate is valid,” Katie Blinn, legal adviser to the Secretary of State’s office said. Two state statutes and a section of state administrative code spell that out, she added.

Reierson recently complained that the newspaper was ignoring his write-in campaign, and the fact that he’s not supporting either candidate for that office in the general. In  a weekend e-mail, he noted the newspaper has carried stories about other write-in campaigns, including Lisa Murkowski’s write-in campaign for U.S. Senate in Alaska.

(Alaska doesn’t have a law that prohibits a losing primary candidate from running in the general, so Murkowski’s votes can actually be counted and credited to her in that race. For the record: Reierson isn’t supporting either incumbent Steve Tucker or challenger Frank Malone.)

Efforts were unsuccessful this week to contact Reierson to explain why he’d be running for the county’s top legal position by asking voters to cast ballots that are invalid under state law. On Monday he called briefly to return a message and ask for a delay until Tuesday morning because he was tending to a gravely ill friend. On Tuesday, he e-mailed that he preferred “to relax and think about more pleasant memories on a nice sunny day, after dropping off an overdue book at the library. I apologize for not calling you this morning, but I just did not feel like it.”

He did close, however, with this comment on his campaign: “Unlike some candidates, I feel I stand for something positive.”

So as a previous post notes, voters can write in any name they choose on a ballot. But not every name will, or even can, be counted.

 

GOP vice chairman voted for Democrat Malone for prosecutor

Dave Stevens, a Republican who lost his bid this summer for Spokane County prosecutor to incumbent Republican Steve Tucker and Democrat Frank Malone, said Wednesday that he cast his vote for Malone in the November election.

The vote is a reversal from where Stevens stood after the primary, when he said he supported Tucker because he was concerned that Malone didn’t have the necessary experience for the job. Stevens, who worked under Tucker until Tucker fired him after he announced his candidacy, said he changed his mind after talking to Malone on the phone.

He said Malone assured him that he wouldn’t shake up the staff of deputy prosecuting attorneys.

Stevens is the vice chairman of the Spokane County Republican Party. Asked about his party leadership spot, Stevens said he did not consider his openness about how he voted as an endorsement.

“I get to vote for anyone I want, just like anybody else,” he said.

Tucker still not backed by own party

The Spokane County Republican Party announced over the weekend that it was endorsing Dino Rossi for U.S. Senate, Cathy McMorris Rodgers for Congress and Al French for county commissioner. Those aren’t surprising moves given the results of the August primary.

But at least one GOP candidate who made it through to November remains without party backing: three-term incumbent Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker. He faces Democrat Frank Malone in the general election.

County Party Chairwoman Cindy Zapotocky said the party hasn’t considered whether to back Tucker because he hasn’t requested an endorsement. The party backed Dave Stevens, who serves as the county party’s vice chairman, in the primary. Zapotocky said Tucker could still request consideration in time for the party’s board to take up the issue in October.

Primary over. Lessons learned?

Thousands of votes are still to be counted from Tuesday’s primary, but along with most races, some lessons are clear.
Lesson 1: It may be uncomfortable to be an incumbent this year, but it’s not fatal. Few incumbents were eliminated in the state’s unusual Top Two primary, but some clearly have their work ahead of them.
Count among them state Sen. Chris Marr, a Spokane businessman who received party acclaim four years ago as the first Democrat to win the seat in Spokane’s 6th District in six decades, but trails GOP challenger Mike Baumgartner in this primary.
Or ask Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker, a three-term Republican incumbent who faced two party challengers and finished second to Democrat Frank Malone.
U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and most sitting House members had an easy primary night, five-term Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen is trading the lead with Republican challenger John Koster in northwestern Washington’s 2nd District.
For all the knock against establishment candidates…

Tucker, Bugbee get dual endorsement

Republican voters looking for a little help on the Spokane County prosecutor primary are going to have to do a bit more than just scan the endorsements the candidates list.

After a forum last Monday, the Republicans of Spokane County decided to make a dual endorsement of incumbent Steve Tucker and challenger Chris Bugbee.

This may be particularly UN-helpful because the Spokane County Republican Party has endorsed challenger Dave Stevens.

Confused? It’s necessary to remember that the Republicans of Spokane County is separate from the county Republican Party. The former is an organization of like-minded GOP types, while the latter is the official party structure.

While it is a bit unusual for the official party to endorse someone other than a party member who is the incumbent office holder, as the county GOP did in this race, Stevens is the party’s vice chair.

Stevens remains employed, but Tucker reviewing “options”

Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Dave Stevens said early this afternoon that he has officially informed his boss, Prosecutor Steve Tucker, that he is running against him in the August primary.

The meeting, which started about 10:30 a.m., lasted a minute and a half or less, Stevens said.

Stevens said he told Tucker that he was running for prosecutor and Tucker responded: “We’re reading the union contract and considering our options.”

Stevens, who brought two union representatives to the meeting, said he wouldn’t speculate on what Tucker will do.

“I’m going to keep working as hard as I’ve always been working,” he said.

Tucker, Stevens scheduled for morning meeting

Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Dave Stevens should find out more about his employment status this morning when he meets with his boss, Prosecutor Steve Tucker.

Stevens announced this week that he will challenge Tucker in the August primary. Both are Republicans. On Thursday, Tucker said “all options are on the table” when asked if Stevens would be let go. Tucker also promised to follow the deputy prosecutors’ union contract if he takes action against Stevens.

Today’s meeting between the two is the first between the candidates since Stevens announced.

PHOTO CREDIT: Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker in his office May 26.2006. DAN PELLE, The Spokesman-Review.

Stevens will challenge Tucker for Spokane County prosecutor

Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Dave Stevens announced Thursday that he’ll challenge his boss, Prosecutor Steve Tucker, in the August primary.

Both Tucker and Stevens are Republicans, and the battle is off to a tough start.

“Until I came here, I’d never seen a total lack of leadership,” Stevens said in an interview Thursday. “There needs to be a determined leader, not an absent administrator.”

Tucker has filed paperwork with the state Public Disclosure Commission indicating that he plans to seek reelection. He did not immediately return a call for comment Thursday afternoon.

This week, Stevens, 47, won an endorsement from the Spokane County Republican Party. Michael Cathcart, an executive board member of the party and Stevens’ campaign manager said Tucker has not yet asked for the endorsement from the party. Cathcart said party rules allow for the endorsement of multiple candidates.

Tucker: Not just ‘No’

Prosecutor Steve Tucker and Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich made their best pitches for some wiggle room on budget cuts Tuesday night. Maybe dip into the budget reserve, or borrow from money set aside for streets. After all, what good are streets if they aren’t safe to drive on. How much rainier does it have to get before you use the rainy day fund?

County commissioners responded with praise for the work that they and their staff do.

And no to any give on the budget cuts, or using the budget reserve, which would lower the bond rating and up the cost of borrowing money.

Sounded like a No? Tucker was asked outside the hearing room as TV cameras were set up.

“Sounded like a no — and a lecture on tax policy” Tucker replied.

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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