Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spin Control

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.

Biviano called Shea and county GOP Chairman Matthew Pederson asking that Shea remove the picture. But Shea has refused. Biviano said that she didn’t want her home well-advertised, in part, because her husband is a former deputy federal prosecutor. Shea’s post included the closest intersection with an arterial to her home, which is a few blocks from where she lives in the southwest part of the City of Spokane Valley.

Both Shea and Biviano have taken steps to make it more difficult for the public to determine where they live. Although a candidate’s address is public information, the county elections office only posts candidates’ campaign office addresses on its website. Shea listed a post office box for his campaign. Biviano listed her campaign treasurer’s address for hers.

Pederson said this week that Biviano was making an issue out of nothing.

“This looks like a fabricated issue following a poor primary performance,” Pederson said.

But Knezovich said the “place where you live should be kind of off limits.”

“Pesonally, I wish Matt would have taken it down,” Knezovich said. “Matt has called law enforcement multiple times with concerns about his residence and his wife’s safety. Matt knows what it’s like to be in that public realm.”

When Shea went to Biviano’s home, her son answered the door and she wasn’t home. Her son saw him take the picture. Biviano said she was more concerned about the picture because Shea knew she wasn’t home when it was snapped.

“It adds to a mother’s sense of outrage,” Biviano said.

Biviano texted the sheriff and a few others about Shea’s appearance at her door. When the picture showed up on Shea’s Facebook page, Knezovich said he let her know it was posted because he knew it “caused her some heartburn.”

Pederson said Biviano’s call for Shea to remove the photo is proof that she does “not want to debate the issues.”

“I have not heard anything of substance from her regarding policy issues during her campaign,” she said.

But Biviano said Shea is the one who is ducking debate.

“I’ve made it very clear to him (Shea) personally as well as his campaign that he just needs to name the time and the place. I’ll be there,” Biviano said.

She noted that Shea did not appear at a candidate forum hosted by the NAACP late last month. Both, however, participated in a KXLY radio call-in show on Aug. 2. He was one of only two of 17 local legislative candidates in competitive races who declined to answer a 15-topic Spokesman-Review legislative candidate questionnaire. Instead, Shea submitted two paragraphs that addressed some of the topics. Biviano completed the full questionnaire.

Shea did not return calls seeking comment about the picture, but he did respond to an article on Spin Control about the photo on his Facebook page.

“In truth, the Spokesman-Review is trying to rehabilitate a radical pro-choice socialist who just got trounced in the primary,” he said in his post.

He noted that in the primary, he beat Biviano by about 20 percentage points and complained about The Spokesman-Review. In July, The Spokesman-Review reported that Shea was charged late last year with a misdemeanor gun charge related to a road rage incident in Spokane. A police report said he displayed his gun during the incident and he was charged with a count based on carrying a loaded gun in his car without a valid concealed weapons permit. His attorney has since denied that the gun was loaded even though Shea signed his name to a document that stipulated “to the accuracy and admissibility of the police report.” The charge is scheduled to be dismissed in January if he doesn’t break any laws other than traffic rules.

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.

Follow Jonathan online: