August 3, 2014 in Editorial, Opinion

Editorial: Ballots due for primary this Tuesday


The Spokesman-Review Editorial Board

Members of The Spokesman-Review editorial board help to determine The Spokesman-Review's position on issues of interest to the Inland Northwest. Board members are:

Tuesday is the final day to mail ballots in the Washington state primary. The editorial board has issued five endorsements, all in races with more than two candidates. When the top two in each race advance to the general election, we will weigh in again. To read the full text of the primary endorsements online, go to endorsement. To summarize:

U.S. Congress, Fifth District: We recommend advancing incumbent Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and newcomer Dave Wilson, who is running as an Independent. McMorris Rodgers has risen high in party leadership, putting her in a position of influence. But her failure to support the U.S. Export-Import Bank is an example of the consequences of the ideological tussles that put party above district needs.

Dave Wilson is conducting a vigorous campaign aimed at the D.C. wars. If elected, he wants to rally congressional centrists to help break the gridlock. His balanced views on issues such as deficit reduction and immigration reform are needed in the House.

County Commission, District 3: We recommend advancing incumbent Republican Al French and Democrat Mary Lou Johnson. French is a positive force for economic development. He’s worked hard on tapping the potential of the underutilized West Plains and was a leader in wooing the Caterpillar distribution center.

Johnson is an exciting newcomer, with a passion for pushing smarter practices in criminal justice, which represents three-quarters of the county’s budget. Her “Blue Print for Reform” has broad support, and she’d like to lead its implementation.

Treasurer: We recommend Mary Kuney, a Republican. The two challengers have better financial credentials than the incumbent, Rob Chase. Kuney and Amy Biviano, the Democrat, are certified public accountants. Chase’s signature act was to lobby for a change in state law to allow people who are behind on tax bills to make partial payments. We supported that, but his opponents make a fair point that it’s unwise to pursue changes without consulting officials whose budgets will be affected.

Kuney has extensive financial experience, working for the state auditor’s office – she has audited Spokane County – and for private firms.

4th Legislative District, Position One: Of the three candidates, all Republicans, vying to replace Rep. Larry Crouse, who retired early, we recommend advancing Diana Wilhite and Bob McCaslin over Leonard Christian, who was selected to fill out Crouse’s term.

Wilhite has an extensive resume, including her public service as one of the first members of the Spokane Valley City Council and as the city’s mayor, from 2005 to 2007. She is more pragmatic than her opponents but still solidly conservative.

McCaslin, a kindergarten teacher, is new to politics, but has a lot of support. He wants transportation project reforms and is adamantly opposed to a gas tax increase. His classroom perspective would be a valuable addition to the conservative caucus.

3rd Legislative District, Position One: We recommend incumbent Rep. Marcus Riccelli in this lone Democratic stronghold in Eastern Washington. He is well-versed on the issues and well-connected to make things happen. He is a good fit for one of the state’s poorest districts.

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