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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spin Control

Kretz won’t seek Senate seat, Short might

OLYMPIA -- State Rep. Joel Kretz of Wauconda will not seek the 7th District Senate seat being vacated by Bob Morton, but seatmate Shelly Short said she is considering it.

Morton announced this week that he will retire at the end of this year, leaving two years on his term. . . 

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. . . Kretz, the senior House member in the large Northeastern Washington District, said he considered seeking the appointment but decided against it because of his leadership position in the other chamber.

Kretz, who will start  his fifth term next year, serves as Deputy Republican leader and has seats on the Agriculture and Natural Resources, Business and Financial Services and Rules committees. "I gave it a lot of thought. But I can be more effective here and get things done for the district," he said in a phone interview.

Short, who was re-elected to a third term this month with no opposition, said she is talking about a possible move to the Senate with her family but hasn't made a decision yet. "I'd be interested to see who applies for the position," she said, adding she'll make a decision in the next week or so.

Filling the seat is a multi-step process. . .   that starts with Republican precinct committee officers in the 7th District nominating as many as three choices for the job. That list of nominees is sent to the county commissioners of the five counties within the district -- Spokane, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Ferry and Okanogan -- where a majority must decide on one of the candidates.

The precinct officers can settle on their list of nominees in December, but the commissioners can't vote to fill the seat until it becomes open on Jan. 1. Republicans want the replacement chosen before the legislative session starts on Jan. 14. Key procedural and organizational votes take place that first day, and Democrats have a slim 26-23 majority. That means two defections from the Democratic ranks could give a united GOP caucus a majority if Morton's replacement is in place. 

Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981 and retired in 2021. He is currently the political and state government correspondent covering Washington state.

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