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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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State Representative, Pos. 1

Election Results

Candidate Votes Pct
Marcus Riccelli (D) 29,906 62.56%
Tim Benn (R) 17,895 37.44%

* Race percentages are calculated with data from the Secretary of State's Office, which omits write-in votes from its calculations when there are too few to affect the outcome. The Spokane County Auditor's Office may have slightly different percentages than are reflected here because its figures include any write-in votes.

About The Race

Two 34-year-old first-time candidates face each other in the race to fill the state House seat now held by Andy Billig, who opted to run for state Senate. Five candidates were on a crowded ballot in August. Marcus Riccelli, a legislative aide to Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, quickly won the backing of the Democratic establishment and unions for a convincing first-place finish despite the appearance of two better-known Democrats on the ballot. Meanwhile, Republicans largely united behind Tim Benn over a less-conservative Republican, allowing Benn enough votes for a second-place finish over third-place finisher Spokane City Councilman Jon Snyder.

Legislators are paid $42,106 annually, plus healthcare benefits. House terms are two years.

The Candidates

Marcus Riccelli

Party:
Democrat
Age:
42
City:
Spokane, Washington
Occupation:
State Representative

Education: Graduated from Mead High School in 1996. Earned a bachelor’s degree in business admission from Gonzaga University in 2000 and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Washington in 2007.

Work experience: Worked as Eastern Washington Director for U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell from 2007 to 2010 and as senior policy adviser to state Sen. Lisa Brown from 2010 to 2012. Previously worked as an adjunct instructor at Eastern Washington University. Worked as project manager at CHAS Health for five year and currently is the community relationship manager for CHAS Health.

Political experience: First elected to his current position in 2012 and re-elected three times. Currently serves on the health care, transportation and capital budget committees.

Family: Married to wife Amanda Riccelli. Has two children.

Campaign fundraising: $119,515 as of Sept. 16, according to the Washington Public Disclosure Commission. Top donations include $2,000 each from Avista Corp., the Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council, the Washington Education Association Political Action Committee, Lyft and the Snohomish Indian Tribal Community.

 

Tim Benn

Party:
Republican
Age:
42
City:
Spokane, WA
Occupation:
Co-owner of day-care center

His words: "I don’t think a lot has changed. I still don’t see a City Council that’s focused on the issues that I’ve heard about over the years, being active in the community.

His pitch: A long history as a district resident and previous work lobbying City Hall for school safety measures in the northeast are both reasons voters should support Benn's candidacy, he said. He criticized the current City Council for focusing too much on ideological issues and being forced to backtrack on certain decisions when he said they stepped outside their authority. More needs to be done to inform residents in the district about planned construction ahead of completion of the North Spokane Corridor highway, he said, and the homelessness issue in the town should be addressed by restricting the flow of illicit drugs onto Spokane's streets. 

Work experience: Owns a child day care center, Little Precious Ones, with his wife in the Minnehaha neighborhood of North Spokane.

Education: Graduated from Faith Christian Academy in 1996. Received associate degrees from Spokane Community College in general business, business management and marketing in 2005. Received child development associate’s degree from Blue Prints for Learning in 2011.

Political experience: Defeated in 2017 campaign for the northeast district seat by City Councilwoman Kate Burke. Defeated in 2012 and 2014 general elections as Republican candidate to represent Legislative District 3 in Washington House of Representatives, both to Marcus Riccelli. Current chairman of Minnehaha Neighborhood Council. Led effort to challenge day-care regulations that he says are duplicative and burdensome.

Family: Married. Two adult sons, and a daughter in high school. 

Neighborhood: Minnehaha

Complete Coverage

Democrats holding edge in Legislature

Democrats appear likely to hold on to both chambers of the Washington Legislature. Republicans had pushed to recapture the state Senate, where the Democrats currently have five more seats than Republicans. Control of the House has not been as much in dispute because Democrats have a wider margin, with 14 more seats than the GOP, and the party appeared to easily maintain a wide majority there.

Notes from a Democratic rally

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House foes differ widely on the issues

The next state representative from the district that represents central Spokane will be 34 and will be new to holding public office. From there, however, the two candidates, Republican Tim Benn and Democrat Marcus Riccelli, differ greatly.

Benn takes lead on Snyder, Apple

A Republican surge of late votes gave a big boost to a Republican running for a central Spokane House seat. After the first round of vote-counting in the state’s primary election on Tuesday, Democrat Marcus Riccelli was the clear winner, but three candidates, Republican Tim Benn and Democrats Jon Snyder and Bob Apple, were within fewer than 100 votes of each other vying for the right to advance to the November election.

Mapping the vote: 3rd District House race

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Thousands left to count in Spokane House race

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Five candidates vie for Billig’s seat in the House

The last-minute decision of state Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown to retire at the end of the year set off a quick, frenzied rush among Democrats to determine how to maintain control of the three seats representing the only Democratic-leaning district in Eastern Washington. In the end, state Rep. Andy Billig became the standard-bearer for the party for the Senate seat. That left Billig’s House seat open.

Marcus Riccelli, Q&A on 15 topics

MARCUS RICCELLI, Democrat 1. Why do you feel that you are the best candidate? I was raised on Spokane’s north side in a middle class home, graduating from Mead High School and Gonzaga—I truly understand the challenges, priorities, and passions of Spokane families. My work with Senator Brown and U.S. Senator Cantwell prepared me to be a strong voice for local businesses, schools and quality of life. I’ve worked alongside and developed strong relationships with regional leaders while advocating for expanding our aerospace industry, investing in the Riverpoint Campus, and developing a 4 year medical school. I have experience navigating Olympia protecting uniquely Spokane programs like Crosswalk, the Guild School and Sally’s House.

Tim Benn, Q&A on 15 topics

TIM BENN, Republican 1. Why do you feel that you are the best candidate? I have lived in Spokane my whole life and would represent the 3rd District with honesty, integrity, and common sense.

Waite drops out, endorses Snyder

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Labor Council backs Riccelli without seeking views of other Democrats in House race

Candidates haven’t even officially signed up to run for office, but the contest for a state House seat representing central Spokane is heating up. The race for the seat held by state Rep. Andy Billig, D-Spokane, already has attracted four candidates, in large part because Billig decided last week that he wouldn’t run for re-election as planned so that he could seek the state Senate seat held by Lisa Brown, who announced that she would not run for a new term.