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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.

Roskelley challenge dismissed

A visiting county auditor dismissed the challenge to John Roskelley's voter registration, and the Democratic challenger will appear on the ballot for the Spokane County commissioner in District 1.

That will likely bring to an end the separate challenge in Spokane County Superior Court, which tried to block Roskelley from the ballot on a different tack.

The challenge to his voter registration was filed first, by Spokane County Republican Chairman Matthew Pederson, who argued that Roskelley wasn't properly registered because he used an address where he doesn't currently have a house, or any other building.

Roskelley had moved out of his long-time home in the district witih plans to build a new home on East Heron View Lane, and used that location on his voter registration. But he was living with his son, whose house is outside the district, while completing a building permit for the property.

A commissioner candidate must live and run in that particular district in the primary. Pederson argued that Roskelley didn't; Roskelley said he was acting on information from Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton about where a legal residence is for registering to vote, and said Pederson's complaint was just politics.

In previous court cases, the intention to move to a particular location has been ruled enough to allow a candidate to claim that as a residence for voter registration.

Dalton recused herself from the complaint and asked Chelan County Auditor Skip Moore to hear the case. This afternoon Moore said Roskelley presented enough evidence to prove that his residence is the one on his voter registration.

Roskelley faces Republican County Commissioner Todd Mielke in the primary. Because they are the only two candidates for that office, they'll run countywide in the November general election.

Dalton said she'd begin printing primary ballots, which must be mailed to overseas and military voters by June 22.

Spokane GOP challenges Roskelley run

The Spokane County Republican Party plans to go to court this week in an effort to block the county commissioner campaign of Democrat John Roskelley.

The county GOP filed a challenge to Roskelley's current voter registration on Friday, and asked Auditor Vicky Dalton to remove his name from the ballot for the District 1 commissioner race, where he is challenging incumbent Republican Commissioner Todd Mielke. But an auditor has no authority to strike a name from the ballot, Dalton said, and the party will have to convince a Superior Court judge to take  him off the ballot.

“This is a very clear-cut case,” Matthew Pederson, county GOP chairman said, contending Roskelley is trying to “deceive voters” with the address.

“It's just politics,” said Roskelley.

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McCaslin replacement slowed by call for ‘flash mob’

The number of contenders to replace state Sen. Bob McCaslin is growing but efforts to get the seat filled quickly were derailed Thursday.

Saturday’s meeting to nominate possible replacements was postponed after a group supporting a leading contender, Rep. Matt Shea, called for a major demonstration outside the gathering to make sure County Commissioners heed the will of the people.

A group called Spokane Patriots Minutemen sent out an e-mail to members calling for a “flash mob for liberty” to gather outside the New Life Assembly Church Saturday morning, where 4th Legislative District precinct committee officers had been scheduled to nominate three possible replacements for McCaslin, who resigned Jan. 4 for health reasons after 30 years in the Senate.

Members of the group were encouraged in the e-mail to form a large, vocal crowd holding signs with a common theme: “Commissioners, listen to the people! Defy us and you WILL be voted out of office!”
  

Spokane County GOP picks new leader

In a close vote on Saturday, the Spokane County Republican Party replaced it chairwoman with the former mayor of Airway Heights. Precinct committee officers voted 91-85 for Matthew Pederson, a current Airway Heights city councilman, over the incumbent leader, Cindy Zapotocky. Heading into the race, Zapotocky was seen to have backing from the grassroots of the party while Pederson was supported by many elected Republicans, including Spokane City Councilwoman Nancy McLaughlin. Supporters of Zapotocky said she was a tireless advocate for GOP candidates and stood up for concerns from the grassroots. Opponents argued that she was divisive and unable to bring unity to the party. Pederson said Saturday evening that he’s confident that the party will unite with the new leadership team. The party elected Laurie Roth, a conservative talk show host based in Elk, vice chairwoman. Roth has backing from some Tea Party supporters and on her Web site accuses President Barack Obama of attempting to turn the United States into a communist-style regime.

Tally the same: Rushing wins AH “mayor’s” race

A hand recount of the Airway Heights ballots confirmed that Councilman Patrick Rushing defeated Mayor Matthew Pederson by two votes for the city’s top elective spot.

Final tally was the same as the machine count: Rushing 281, Pederson 279. There were 33 ballots that didn’t have a mark for either candidate.

The mayor’s title is largely ceremonial in Airway Heights which has a city manager form of government. The main job is running the city council, and the job appeared on the ballot as Council Chair, Position 1.

Incumbent mayor behind by 2

The results of this month’s Spokane County election were certified on Tuesday, but the counting isn’t over.

Elections officials next week will recount by hand votes in the race for Airway Heights mayor.

City Councilman Patrick Rushing’s lead over incumbent Mayor Matthew Pederson grew in the latest tally to two votes.