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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spin Control

Hewitt won’t seek re-election

OLYMPIA -- Sen. Mike Hewitt, a Walla Walla Republican who previously served as his party's caucus leader, will not run for re-election this fall. 

Hewitt, who will be in his 16th year in the Senate, announced today he will "step aside and give someone else a chance" to represent a district that includes portions of Walla Walla, Benton, Columbia and Franklin counties.

First elected in 2000, Hewitt was elected Republican leader in 2005 when the party was in the minority in that chamber and held that post until late 2012 when the election gave GOP members a chance to take control of the Senate by joining with two Democrats and forming what came to be called the Majority Coalition Caucus. At that point, Hewitt had undergone surgery early in 2012 and stepped away from his leadership role in the coming session.

But Hewitt pushed for many of the coalition's key reforms, including a four-year balanced budget and reduced college tuition, his replacement, Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, said.

Possible replacements could include Rep. Maureen Walsh, of Walla Walla, who has served in the House since 2005, and Rep. Terry Nealey, of Dayton, first elected in 2009

The Spokesman-Review's political team keeps a critical eye on local, state and national politics.