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Councilwoman McLaughlin may run for House if seat opens

Spokane’s most senior elected official is considering a move to the east.

City Councilwoman Nancy McLaughlin said she may move into Spokane Valley’s 4th Legislative District to run for the House seat held by state Rep. Larry Crouse – if he decides to retire.

McLaughlin, a Republican, can’t run for a third term on the Spokane City Council because of term limits.

Crouse, 68, said he likely will decide early next year if he’ll run again. He said he’s had a rough legislative session this year because of his health, but he doesn’t suffer from any life-threatening illness. Crouse had surgery early this year because of a blocked artery in his leg and later suffered from food poisoning, but he said he’s getting back to normal.

“It has a lot to do with my health,” Crouse said. “If I feel good and feel capable of doing a good job, it’s a possibility that I will run again.”

Crouse said McLaughlin is “a wonderful person,” but he added that there are other good candidates who are waiting as well to hear if he’ll run again. Among them is former Spokane Valley Mayor Diana Wilhite, another Republican.

McLaughlin said she is eager to bring her experience to “a higher level.”

She won re-election to her City Council seat representing the northwest part of the city in 2009 in a landslide, but she lost her bid last year for state Senate against Democrat Andy Billig in the 3rd Legislative District, the most Democratic-leaning legislative district in Eastern Washington. Billig took 58 percent of the vote.

“The door’s obviously not going to open in the near future for me in the Third,” McLaughlin said last week.

McLaughlin could finish her City Council term before moving because she wouldn’t have to live in the legislative district until May 2014 to qualify. Her City Council term expires at the end of this year.

McLaughlin said she and her husband also are trying to decide if it makes financial sense to move from their home of 35 years.

Wilhite confirmed she also is considering a run for the seat in case Crouse retires. She declined to comment on McLaughlin’s possible move but said she has spoken to her about it.

McLaughlin said some supporters have urged her to run for City Council president in 2015.

“I’m not so sure that I have the passion to herd cats at the council level,” McLaughlin said. “I’m not saying no, but it wouldn’t be the first option in my heart.”


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