Spokane City Council candidate Mark Hamilton is not qualified to run for city office, a Spokane County Superior Court judge ruled this afternoon.
The ruling disqualifying Hamilton to appear on the November ballot means incumbent Amber Waldref will be the only name on the ballot in November for her seat representing northeast Spokane.
Hamilton, the pastor of 1Body Ministries and a real estate agent, has claimed that his primary residence since May 2012 is 217 E. Pacific Ave.
The Spokane City Charter requires that candidates reside in their council district a year before filing for office. To qualify as a candidate, Hamilton had to establish that he lived in the district by May 17, 2012.
But he was registered to vote at an address outside the city when he cast his ballot last November and he didn’t have water or electrical service at the home until June 2012. The city also has declared the home “uninhabitable.”
Two voters in Spokane’s northeast council district filed a lawsuit against Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton, claiming that candidate Mark Hamilton should not be allowed on the ballot because he was not a resident of the city for a year before officially entering the race in May.
Despite significant questions about whether he met the city’s residency requirement, Hamilton spent more than $5,000 of the $8,000 he raised for his campaign. Contributors to his campaign include Spokane City Councilman Steve Salvatori, Spokane County Treasurer Rob Chase and former state Supreme Court Justice Richard Sanders.
The judge’s decision along with a lack of other candidates results in the first time voters won’t have a choice on the ballot in a non-judicial City of Spokane election in at least 40 years.