Commissioners say they will make choice by March 4 after researching candidates
Spokane County’s three Republican commissioners signaled Tuesday that they won’t rubber-stamp precinct officers’ choice of state Rep. Matt Shea to replace state Sen. Bob McCaslin.
They drew up a detailed list of information they want each of the party nominees to supply by Feb. 2. They also plan to conduct their own background checks.
Shea, an attorney, is at the top of a list of three nominees the 4th District Republican precinct committee officers submitted to commissioners Tuesday.
Next on the list is Jeff H. Baxter, who was an unsuccessful write-in candidate for a West Valley School Board position in 2009. Baxter owns and operates Bancard Systems Northwest and Northwest Leasing Systems, which set up credit card processing systems for businesses.
Third on the list is Roy Murry, whose first political experience was his election in August as a precinct officer. Murry is a retired Army fire-support sergeant who owns and operates a security contracting and sales business.
McCaslin, who also is a Spokane Valley city councilman, resigned his senate seat on Jan. 5. Under state law, county commissioners have 60 days from the resignation date to choose a temporary successor.
Commissioners must choose among three nominees submitted by McCaslin’s political party. They plan to make their selection by March 4 so the choice won’t pass to Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire.
The appointment is good only until this year’s general election on Nov. 8. Then voters will decide who will continue filling out McCaslin’s term, which expires at the end of 2012.
Commissioner Mark Richard called for nominees to be thoroughly vetted as “a complement” to screening done by precinct officers.
“I just can’t, in good conscience, support a process that doesn’t have this level of research,” Richard said.
Commissioner Al French said commissioners must stand in for voters, who can’t provide the scrutiny an election would afford.
“It’s a different level of review,” Commissioner Todd Mielke said.
Commissioners set noon Feb. 2 as the deadline for the nominees to submit the requested information, and for county staff members to report on background checks.
The same deadline was set for public comments on the nominees.
Comments may be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to Daniela Erickson, clerk of the board, 1116 W. Broadway Ave., Spokane, WA 99260.
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