One of just two Democrats holding county office has endorsed a Republican to replace her.
Spokane County Treasurer Linda Wolverton has decided against seeking a fourth term and is pulling for her chief deputy, Bob Wrigley, to take her spot in November’s election.
Wolverton was elected at a time when Democrats dominated county offices. A dozen years later, Wolverton and Auditor Vicky Dalton are the only Democrats in the county’s nine elected partisan positions.
Spokane County Democratic Party Chairwoman Sharon Smith said Wolverton’s endorsement will not stop the party from recruiting a candidate to compete with Wrigley.
“Replacing her with a Republican furthers what we consider to be a serious balance problem in our county government,” Smith said. There are Democrats considering the office but none has yet decided to run, she said.
Wolverton said Wrigley has proven his abilities when he’s filled in for her when surgery and other health issues forced her to miss work.
“He kept up my high standards,” said Wolverton, the first woman to hold the county’s treasurer post. “He ran the office seamlessly. He earned my nod.”
She adds that she doesn’t believe the office should be partisan because it doesn’t set policy.
The Treasurer’s Office collects taxes and acts as the bank for the county and other governments. It handles about $6 billion a year in transactions.
Wrigley was hired by Wolverton in 1997 and was promoted to chief deputy a couple years later.
He said he would continue Wolverton’s path for the office and expand technology.
“There’s going to be a lot of change in the banking industry in the next few years,” Wrigley said.
Previously he worked in the private sector, including as the internal auditor for GroupHealth.
County GOP Chairman Mark Sterk praised Wolverton for crossing party lines.
“I would like to see more of that happen when we have a good candidate running, both ways,” said Sterk, who is the county sheriff. “Her endorsement will send a message to Republicans and Democrats alike that this person is a good candidate.”
Wolverton said her service to the Democrats isn’t over.
“I will be busy helping Democrats on the other races,” Wolverton said. “It’s important to have balance and to have public officials who will stand up and do what’s right.”
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