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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spin Control

Stevens will challenge Tucker for Spokane County prosecutor

Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Dave Stevens announced Thursday that he'll challenge his boss, Prosecutor Steve Tucker, in the August primary.

Both Tucker and Stevens are Republicans, and the battle is off to a tough start.

"Until I came here, I'd never seen a total lack of leadership," Stevens said in an interview Thursday. "There needs to be a determined leader, not an absent administrator."

Tucker has filed paperwork with the state Public Disclosure Commission indicating that he plans to seek reelection. He did not immediately return a call for comment Thursday afternoon.

This week, Stevens, 47, won an endorsement from the Spokane County Republican Party. Michael Cathcart, an executive board member of the party and Stevens' campaign manager said Tucker has not yet asked for the endorsement from the party. Cathcart said party rules allow for the endorsement of multiple candidates.

Stevens said he did not tell Tucker he was planning a run before he made his announcement. That's because, Stevens said, Tucker indicated he might fire another employee of the prosecutor's office who was considering a run against him. Stevens said Tucker made the threats in a conversation with him last fall. Stevens, who is the vice chairman of the county GOP, said Tucker had approached him to indicate he wanted to get more in touch with the party as he planned a reelection bid.

Stevens, who has worked in the office since 2002, promised Thursday not to solicit donations or endorsements from employees in the prosecutor's office. He also promised that if elected he wouldn't fire anyone except for cause. Tucker was elected to his job in 1998, 2002 and 2006. One of his first acts as prosecutor was to let go four attorneys, including the supervisor he had when he was suspended for five days from his deputy prosecutor's position in 1997. When he announced the action, Tucker said he let them go to improve ``office relationships'' and that he dismissed three of the four based on negative comments he received from others in the office and other law enforcement officials.

No Democrats have announced for the office. Spokane County Democratic Party Chairwoman Amy Biviano said she knows of at least one person who has expressed strong interest in running for the job as a Democrat.

"We'll make sure we have the right candidates and if we don't have the right candidate, we'll focus our energy elsewhere," Biviano said.

Here's an interesting sidenote about Cathcart being Stevens' campaign manager. (Cathcart said Thursday that Stevens action leading to him being tossed from the jury was just Stevens doing his job.)

Jonathan Brunt
Jonathan Brunt joined The Spokesman-Review in 2004. He is the government editor. He previously was a reporter who covered Spokane City Hall, Spokane County government and public safety.

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