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Amy Biviano returns to political arena

Amy Biviano, whose unsuccessful attempt to unseat GOP state Rep. Matt Shea two years ago became one of the most watched races in the state, is back.

The Spokane Valley accountant has filed paperwork signaling her intent to run for Spokane County treasurer. The incumbent, Rob Chase of Liberty Lake, also has filed paperwork with the state Public Disclosure Commission indicating his intent to seek re-election.

Although candidate filing is still months away, state law requires prospective candidates to file with the PDC before soliciting campaign contributions. Biviano, a former county Democratic Party chairwoman, filed Jan. 28. The libertarian-turned-Repbulican Chase, who lost a bid for county commission two years ago, filed in February of last year.

Look for Biviano to emphasize fiscal discipline by pointing to her financial management experience to combat the customary GOP attacks on Democrats as tax-and-spend liberals.

Chase, meanwhile, will look to unify the split in the local GOP that became apparent in his unsuccessful bid for a county commission seat. Hailing from the most conservative wing of the party, Chase raised eyebrows when he suggested investing a portion of the county's tax dollars in precious metals such as gold, though he pointed out that he was talking about a small amount and that state law permits only conservative investments.

Biviano has struggled politically in the conservative Spokane Valley despite campaigning for the Legislature as a fiscal conservative promising tax reform benefiting small businesses. She also was among a handful of applicants passed over for an appointment to an open seat on the conservative Spokane Valley City Council.

Chase, a real estate agent and nutritional products distributor, also has struggled politically. In addition to losing his bid for county commission, he unsuccessfully sought a seat in the state Senate in 2000 and tried to unseat Republican U.S. Rep. George Nethercutt in 2002.

But he beat the odds with his 2010 election to county treasurer, starting with a write-in campaign, which received enough votes in the primary to get his name on the ballot in the general election. Chase, whose 1,500 primary write-in votes put him ahead of "Bozo" and other names frequently jotted down in the write-in portion of ballots by some voters, went on to defeat Democratic incumbent Skip Chilberg.

AM Headlines — 10.25.12

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., left, stands with Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho speaks with reporters while in Boise Wednesday to help campaign Labrador. See story below. (AP photo: Idaho Statesman)

Debates will feature county commission candidates, Biviano

Candidates for Spokane County Commission will face off Wednesday evening in student-led debates hosted by the Central Valley High School’s Government Club.

The club also has invited the candidates in the hotly-contest Spokane Valley race for state House between incumbent Republican Matt Shea and Democrat Amy Biviano. Biviano is scheduled to attend. Shea has not responded to phone calls and emails inviting him to participate, said Central Valley teacher Bill Gilchrist.

SR Picks Playboy Vet Over Shea Fear

If there were a political version of the TV show “Fear Factor,” Republican Rep. Matt Shea would make an excellent host. Fear of U.S. currency. Fear of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Fear of “FEMA camps” where, according to a conspiracy theory, citizens will be held once invading federal troops round them up. No wonder he keeps a gun stashed in his car. We would’ve liked to discuss these views and more, but he was alone among local candidates in declining to return our calls. So we’re left with lines like this from a speech to the Constitution Party, “How long will we continue to beg like dogs only to be satisfied with a few scraps from the king’s table?” Shea supported Constitution Party candidate Randall Yearout rather than Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers in the 5th District congressional primary. His desire for states to unilaterally nullify federal laws shows he’s a fringe thinker. To borrow a phrase, he’s a Republican in name only/Spokesman-Revew Editorial Board. More here. (Rep. Matt Shea, 2nd from left, with Idaho Reps. Phil Hart, left, and Vito Barbieri, right, at Ron Paul rally in Spokane earlier this year.)

Question: Izzit just me, or does Shea sound as thought he'd fit in perfectly in Idaho's Legislative District 2 or 3?

Clark: A Race That Keeps Giving

The tipster called me midday Friday with two eye-popping political developments, namely that 4th District state legislative candidate Amy Biviano appeared topless in a 1995 Playboy magazine spread. Five words immediately came to mind. “Well, it’s about damned time!” (Contractions don’t count.) See, I’ve been around politics a long time. And the mantra of every politician is that they have “absolutely nothing to hide.” Which always turns out to be an utter falsehood when candidate so-and-so is found to be heavy into cross-dressing or addicted to toilet stall sex in airport men’s rooms. And those are just Republicans. So this is the first time in my recollection that a candidate really does have NOTHING TO HIDE!/Doug Clark, SR. More here. And: Previous thread: Topless photo? confidence building

Other SR weekend columns:

Question: If you had the right stuff to pose for Playboy/Playgirl, would you?

Topless photo: confidence building?

Amy Biviano, the Democratic challenger in a high-profile battle for a legislative seat representing Spokane Valley, is defending a 1995 topless photo shoot with Playboy magazine as a confidence-building experience while attending Yale University.

In an interview Friday, following a conservative website’s disclosure that Biviano appeared in a “Women of the Ivy League” pictoral, Biviano said she doesn’t regret the photo shoot but wouldn’t do it a second time, especially now that she’s a mother of two.

“I was a college kid,” she said. “I thought, ‘you might as well give it a try.’” Jonathan Brunt, SR  More here.

Would you be more or less likely to vote for a candidate who posed for a topless photo? Or does it really make a difference in how you'd vote?

Read the police reports that led to Shea’s gun charge

Not shockingly, the Democrat challenging state Rep. Matt Shea's reelection bid made it extremely clear this week that she will highlight Shea's charge for carrying a loaded weapon in his pickup without a concealed weapons permit in the fall campaign. 

Amy Biviano's campaign mailed ads to voters this week that include the bold, red, all-caps headline: "lawmakers should not be law breakers."

Both sides have at times misrepresented what's in the police reports about the road rage incident, so we present the police report, as provided to The Spokesman-Review through a public records request.


GOP chair now wants Shea photo removed

It may have started as a joke but the controversial photo of state Rep. Matt Shea standing on his Democratic challenger’s property has become a political hot potato for Republicans.

The chairman of the Spokane County Republican Party, who was characterized in The Spokesman-Review and other media last week as backing Shea’s decision to post the photo to his Facebook page, now says his position was misunderstood and that he’d actually been trying to persuade Shea to remove the photo.

“It is an extremely minor issue that has come to the forefront of the campaign,” Matthew Pederson said Monday.

Pederson said he asked Shea, a Republican from Spokane Valley seeking his third term in the state House, to remove the photo on Aug. 10. It was still posted on Monday.

Last week, Pederson called Democratic hopeful Amy Biviano’s request that the photo of Shea standing in the driveway of her Spokane Valley home be removed from the Internet an attempt to avoid addressing the important issues facing the state.

“I did try to return a call to Amy last week. She did not respond,” Pederson said in the statement he issued on the dustup last week. “This looks like a fabricated issue following a poor primary performance. Elected officials should be door belling all precincts in their district and that will include their opponent's precinct.”

Pederson said he now wants to correct the mischaracterization of him standing behind Shea’s posting of the photo.

He said Monday that he’d told The Spokesman-Review last week that he’d asked Shea to pull the photo off of Facebook but that it was during a cell phone call with a reporter in which reception was so poor that the reporter had asked him to try calling back. Pederson later sent the prepared statement instead that included no mention of his efforts to get the photo removed from the Internet.

Asked Monday why he asked Shea to remove the photo when he felt it was a “fabricated issue,” Pederson said Biviano is exaggerating safety concerns she has based on her husband’s former job as a federal deputy prosecutor. The photo was taken while Shea was door-belling the neighborhood where Biviano lives and came across his opponent's home.

“It could be construed as immature at best, but to say that it’s intimidating is just a stretch of the campaign narrative,” Pederson said Monday.

GOP leader backs Shea’s decision to post photo

The chairman of the Spokane County Republican Party is standing behind state Rep. Matt Shea’s decision to post a picture of himself standing on his election opponent’s property on Facebook.

But Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, a Republican, says he wishes Shea would have pulled the picture at Biviano’s request.

Shea, a Republican from Spokane Valley, posted a picture of himself standing in front of the home of Democrat Amy Biviano on Aug. 4. Along with the picture of himself in her driveway, he wrote that he was doorbelling in the area and wanted to welcome the precinct to his district. The neighborhood was placed into the 4th Legislative District as part of the state’s redistricting in response to the 2010 Census.

Creepy or cute? Shea posts pic of himself standing on opponent’s property

State Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley, is refusing to remove a picture of his election opponent's home from his Facebook page.

Amy Biviano, the Democrat who is challenging Shea's election bid, said Friday that she left voicemails with Shea and with Spokane County Republican Party Chairman Matthew Pederson requesting that the photo be pulled but hasn't received a call back. She said she and others also have posted comments on Shea's Facebook page asking that the photo (left) be removed, but those comments have been deleted.

Late last week Shea posted the picture of himself standing on Biviano's property along with the comment: "I wanted to give a special thanks to all of those in the newest 4th District Precinct ….Thank you all for the overwhelming show of support, what a great neighborhood! Oh…and that's my opponent's house in the background. =)"

His post listed the intersection near where she lives.

Looking ahead: 4th District House race

For candidates in a two-person primary like Republican Matt Shea and Democrat Amy Biviano, this week's election gives them a snapshot of how they are doing right now with voters.

This map shows the precincts that each won, and demonstrates that Shea piled up larger margins of victory in many of his precincts.

For a closer look, check out the PDF.


Documents from Sunday’s story on Shea

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.

To read Sunday's story, or to comment, click here to go inside the blog.


Roskelley edges McKenna among Bloomsday politicians

Among the elected leaders and politicians running for office, it should be no surprise that John Roskelley won the race.

Roskelley, a candidate for Spokane County Commission, had the best Bloomsday time among all elected Spokane and Spokane Valley city leaders; state House and state Senate candidates for districts within Spokane County; Spokane County commissioner candidates; and gubernatorial candidates.

Roskelley is, afterall, a world-renowned mountain climber.

Here is the list of local politicians (plus a governor hopeful) who completed Bloomsday:

  1. John Roskelley, D, candidate for Spokane County Commission, 0:59:00
  2. Rob McKenna, R, candidate for governor, 1:00:21
  3. Amber Waldref, Spokane city councilwoman, 1:07:52
  4. Marcus Riccelli, D, candidate for state House, 1:08:27
  5. Steve Salvatori, Spokane city councilman, 1:17:00
  6. Amy Biviano, D, candidate for state House, 1:17:16
  7. Dennis Dellwo, D, candidate for state House, 1:20:08
  8. Tom Towey, Spokane Valley mayor, 1:28:14
  9. Brenda Grassel, Spokane Valley city councilwoman, 2:13:47
  10. David Condon, Spokane mayor, 2:41:52
  11. Michael Baumgartner, R, state Senator and candidate for U.S. Senate, 2:47:31

Stuckart missed deadline; former treasurer says PDC lost form

Spokane City Council president candidate Ben Stuckart missed a state deadline for filing a campaign finance report by more than two months.

The mistake was quickly fixed once the Public Disclosure Commission informed Stuckart that he was late, and a penalty is unlikely, said Lori Anderson, PDC spokeswoman.

The state requires candidates to file a "personal financial affairs statement" (calld the F-1 form) within two weeks of raising or spending money on a campaign or declaring a candidacy. Stuckart entered the race March 1. The PDC didn't receive his personal financial disclosure form until June 1, though other required forms were received on time.

Stuckart's campaign manger Jessica Anundson said last week that Stuckart filled out the form in a timely manner and gave it to his first campaign treasurer, Amy Biviano, with other forms. But Biviano didn't "submit it with everything else," Anundson said.

"We thought it was filed until the PDC called us," she said.

But Biviano, who said she left the Stuckart campaign to work on Spokane Mayor Mary Verner's reelection bid, said this week that she sent the form on time and that if there was a problem, it occurred after she sent the forms.

"The campaign did follow the rules," said Biviano, former chairwoman of the Spokane County Democratic Party. "It sounds like it was lost."

Anderson, of the PDC, said she couldn't completely rule out the possibility of the PDC making a mistake with the form, but said it is unlikely. Paperwork is scanned into the system as soon as it arrives. The only possibility is that it was mislabeled when it was scanned. But each document and label is doublechecked by a second employee, she said.

Republicans and Democrats finally unite: Don’t steal campaign signs

The leaders of the local Democratic and Republican parties issued a rare joint statement today on a topic that each election cycle leads to an incredible amount of finger-pointing.

They’re message: Stop stealing signs, stop vandalizing them and stop trespassing.

To see their letter, read the full post:

Spokane Dem chief steps down

Ed King, chairman of the Spokane County Democratic Party, is stepping down for health reasons and the party’s first vice president, Amy Biviano, is moving into the top spot on an interim basis with hopes of taking it on permanently.

Biviano said Friday she expects a smooth transition, considering she and King worked together on everything after they got their respective jobs in January. The county party will have a special meeting in July to elect a new chair, and Biviano will run in that race.

She may run unopposed, if recent history is any indicator.

King is stepping down because  he’s suffering from shingles, she said.

Not to play doctor or anything, but that’s a disease that can be greatly exacerbated by stress….