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Spokane County Republican precinct officers in the 4th Legislative District have to pick a replacement for Rep. Larry Crouse, who is retiring this month with a year left on his term. There are five would-be legislators eager for the job, but only three can be on the list that will be sent to county commissioners for the final selection.
The county party, along with several local GOP groups such as the Republican Liberty Caucus and Northwest Grassroots, is sponsoring a forum with all five at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Spokane Events and Catering, 10514 E. Sprague in Spokane Valley. KXLY’s Rick Rydell has agreed to referee, er, moderate.
Organizer John Christina said the forum is open to the public, not just precinct officers, which is a good idea considering the ones that don’t get the appointment are likely to run next fall when the seat is up for election.
Republican Larry Crouse will retire after 19 years in the Legislature, likely setting off a rush of GOP hopefuls in the Spokane Valley district.
Crouse announced Tuesday he plans to retire as of Dec. 31, halfway through his current term, because of health problems that kept him away from the Legislature for much of the 2013 sessions. . .
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Spokane’s most senior elected official is considering a move to the east.
City Councilwoman Nancy McLaughlin said last week that 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 City Council because of term limits.
Crouse, 68, said he likely will decide if he’ll run again early next year. He said he’s had a rough legislative session this year because of his health, but that 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.”
Some readers of Sunday's story about Matt Shea's continuance of a charge of having a loaded handgun in his pickup without a valid concealed weapon permit, which stemmed from a “road rage” incident, have wondered why the story appeared now rather than in November when the incident occured, December when the charge was filed or January when the continuance was signed.
The answer is simple: We didn't know about it until Friday, when copies of documents were delivered to the newsroom in Spokane.
The news media is not given access to the daily police incident reports, like the one that was filed on this case on Nov. 25. We do receive daily reports from Municipal Court for our Official Records column, but only those convictions that result in jail time or a fine of $500 or more. This case was given a “Stipulated Order of Continuance” until next January, which means there will be no conviction if he doesn't have another criminal charge by then.
Because they are court records, they likely would have turned up in the routine court checks we do for all candidates. But because Rep. Shea is in a primary with only one opponent, Democrat Amy Biviano, and both will advance to the general election regardless of the primary results, we have been concentrating on candidates in contested primaries at this point.
The documents arrived Friday. We checked Municipal Court records to verify they were authentic, and contacted Rep. Shea for a comment that afternoon, and held the story until he responded. Late Friday night, he directed us to his attorney, Bob Cossey, who we were unable to talk to until late Saturday afternoon and add them to the story, which then ran Sunday.
For readers who want more information about the documents, we're posting them here. Newspaper policy is to redact personal information, such as addresses, phone numbers and dates of birth, and I've done that with these documents.
Republican Matt Shea will seek a third term in the state House of Representatives, not the open seat on the Spokane County Board of Commissioners.
Shea had been mentioned as a possible contender for the commission seat that two-term incumbent Mark Richard said he was leaving last week. This morning, however, Shea scheduled his campaign kickoff for the House re-election campaign next Tuesday evening at Felts Field, saying he was grateful for all the encouragement to run for the commission seat but wanted to continue work in the Legislature.
“I feel I must stay and fight to remove the tangle of taxes and regulations that is causing businesses and jobs to move out of the Spokane Valley and the state of Washington,” he said in a prepared statement.
Shea won the hotly contested open seat in 2008 in the traditionally Republican 4th Legislative District in 2008, and ran unopposed in 2010. So far this year he has one announced opponent, Democrat Amy Biviano, a certified public accountant and former county party chairwoman.
The race for Richard's commission seat already has one announced Republican, Shelly O'Quinn, and two Democrats, former Spokane City Councilman Bob Apple and former television newscaster Daryl Romeyn, talking about possible campaigns.
Former Councilman Mike Allen's lead over incumbent Richard Rush grew by three to 91 on Wednesday after a recount of the Spokane City Council election for the city's south district.
The race was recounted by machine because the result from the first count was within half of 1 percentage point. Rush said he still plans to pursue a hand recount, which the Spokane County Democratic Party has agreed to finance.
Results of a hand recount in the 4th Legislative District senate race, which also was completed Wednesday and was paid for by candidate Jeff Baxter, may not give Rush much hope for much change.
Baxter paid more than $1,700 to have 10 precincts recounted in his race against state Sen. Mike Padden. Election workers who tallied the ballots Wednesday morning found two errors. Baxter lost a vote, and one vote that had been counted as blank was changed to a write-in, for the candidate “N/A.”
In the Rush-Allen race, Rush's tally was found to be too high by two and Allen gained a vote after a ballot that had been counted as blank was found to have been marked for Allen.
Election Manager Mike McLaughlin said he can't say for sure why Rush's count fell by two. One possibility is that after paper jams occurred in the machines, ballots that already had been counted may have been sent through a second time, he said.
Each campaign involved in the two recounts had observers at the Elections Office.
Baxter lost to Padden by 3,638 votes. He said he paid for the recount with his personal money and did so because results in some precincts conflicted with data campaign workers collected when going door-to-door. The outcome hints that in a future race volunteers need to do a better job reaching voters when they're home, he said.
“I didn't think anything insidious was going on,” Baxter said. “I'm just saying that we need to work a little harder in different precincts.”
Baxter said he hasn't decided if he will run again next year.
Last week, Rush indicated that Baxter may have paid for a recount to prevent Rush's race from being recounted by hand. Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton originally requested that the City Council race be counted by hand to test new scanners in the county's voting machines. But she changed course after Baxter opted to pay for a recount in his race.
“It had absolutely nothing to do with his race,” Baxter said. “I don't have the time to be playing those games.”
Spokane County Elections Manager Mike McLaughlin said this afternoon that sorting ballots for recounting took longer than expected.
Therefore, the Spokane City Council recount between Richard Rush and Mike Allen and the 4th Legislative District Senate race between Jeff Baxter and Mike Padden won't start until 9 a.m. Wednesday, he said. County should be complete by 1 p.m., when the Spokane County Canvassing Board meets to certify the new results.
Former state Sen. Jeff Baxter is paying for a partial recount of ballots in his unsuccessful bid to retain his Spokane Valley seat despite losing the race by more than 3,400 votes.
Baxter’s opponent in the contest, Mike Padden, was sworn in as senator representing the 4th Legislative District on Tuesday soon after the Spokane County Canvassing Board certified the results.
Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton said Baxter submitted a check for $1,174 to recount 10 precincts. She said he was required to make a down payment of 25 cents per ballot. He will get a refund if the cost of the recount is less.
Baxter, who was appointed to the seat earlier this year, lost it in the November election by 3,437 votes after garnering only 45 percent of the vote.
Reached Wednesday afternoon, Baxter declined to comment when asked if he thought the race was fair. He noted that state law doesn’t require candidates to say why they are asking for a recount and said he would answer questions after a recount is completed.
Mike Padden, who was in the middle of his second day as the 4th District’s new state senator Tuesday afternoon, said he had just been informed that Baxter had asked for a recount but didn’t know “what his rationale is.”
“The vote was pretty overwhelming. It doesn’t make sense to me,” Padden said.
“There is a high undervote,” he said, referring to the term used for a ballot that had no candidate marked for that race. “But you’d expect a high undervote when there’s no Democrat in the race.”
State Sen. Jeff Baxter is holding a campaign kickoff Wednesday night at the Mirabeau Park Hotel.
This may seem a bit late, considering Baxter announced more than a month ago he was running for the seat to which he was appointed after Bob McCaslin retired. And he filed for the seat about two weeks ago. In football, after all, the kickoff happens at the beginning of the game, not sometime in the middle of the first quarter.
Regardless, he'll have appearances by some name Republican supporters, including Sens. Mike Hewitt of Walla Walla, the Senate minority leader, Sen. Mike Baumgartner of Spokane and Rep. Matt Shea of the Spokane Valley. It starts at 6:30 p.m.
Name supporters are a factor in this race between Baxter and former state Rep. and District Judge Mike Padden, who has the support of state Rep. Larry Crouse and former state Rep. Lynn Schindler, as well as McCaslin's endorsement before he died.
Both candidates are Republicans. There's no primary, not because of that, but because there's only two of them in the race.
OLYMPIA — RepublicanJeff Baxter will run in this year's special election in an effort to keep the state Senate seat he now holds by appointment.
Baxter announced today that he will seek election to the Spokane Valley's 4th Legislative District seat. He was appointed to the post earlier this year by Spokane County commissioners after Sen. Bob McCaslin announced his resignation after 30 years because of health problems.
Immediately after taking office, Baxter said he was uncertain whether he would run for the post later in the year: “I just got here. Give me a couple days or weeks.” Tuesday he said he was “committed to continuing to represent Spokan County residents during this challenging time.
Baxter, 50, is a Spokane Valley businessman who owns three companies connected to bank cards.
Already in the race is Mike Padden, a former state representative and former Spokane County district judge.
Tjr 4th Legislative District Republican precinct committee officers to name three possible replacements for Sen. Bob McCaslin is back on for Saturday morning.
The time and place have been changed. Registration will start at 8:30 a.m. and the meeting at 9:30 a.m., at the Luxury Box, 10512 E. Sprague, in University City.
The meeting was originally scheduled for the New Life Assembly Church, but as noted in this earlier post, had to be relocated yesterday.
Spokane County GOP Chairman Matthew Pederson said they did some legal research and concluded that if they held the meeting on the same day, and just altered the time and place, they wouldn't need a new 10-day notice to precinct officers. He believes the PCOs will all be notified today, and the party will have people at the New Life Church Saturday morning to direct anyone who doesn't get the notice headed toward the Luxury Box.
Republican PCOs will have three rounds of voting to pick nominees to replace McCaslin, who resigned this month because of health problems. The winner in each round will be placed on the list to be sent to the Spokane County Commissioners, who choose the relacement from among those nominees.