|John Smith (R)||2,693||48.38%|
|Michael Brunson (R)||1,455||26.14%|
|Brian Dansel (R)||1,418||25.48%|
* 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
This is a special election to fill the seat vacated by the retirement of state Sen. Bob Morton, R-Colville.
The legislative district encompasses much of northeastern Washington state. The position pays $42,106/year plus per diem and healthcare benefits.
The battle between an appointed incumbent and a county commissioner for the state Senate seat in Northeast Washington has turned increasingly negative, generating charges of tax-dodging, union-coddling, trash-talking and even a possible death threat. The usual issues have come up, like helping the economy, finding jobs for the next generation, protecting gun rights and reining in government. But there are unusual things, too, like a tanker full of human waste with a political message on the back, specifically adapted for this year’s special election race in the 7th District.
Washington voters – or at least the relative few that cast ballots in the summer primary – seemed willing to stick with the familiar Tuesday. Turnout was light in most areas, but incumbents seeking to extend their terms in office survived primaries for the Spokane City Council, Spokane Valley City Council and the 7th District state Senate race.
State Sen. John Smith lives in a remote part of the largest legislative district in Washington, an area with sparse population and wide open spaces that over the decades has attracted people with extreme political and religious views. Smith acknowledges that both his grandfather and his wife’s grandfather were among those with extremist, anti-Semitic views, and that both ended up living in northeast Washington. Both were adherents of a radical strain of Christianity known as Christian Identity, an offshoot of a belief known as British Israelism.
Most years, it’s considered an advantage to hold the office you are seeking in the upcoming election. Brian Dansel and Mike Brunson, who are challenging appointed Sen. John Smith for the seat in northeast Washington’s sprawling 7th District, are hoping 2013 isn’t like most years. Being in the state Senate is not exactly a badge of honor after a prolonged session that needed nearly 50 extra days to accomplish the Legislature’s primary goal of passing the operating budget.
OLYMPIA – New rules for dealing with wolf attacks on livestock and domestic animals, which seemed stalled in the Legislature, may be announced as early as today as a result of action by key legislators and a state commission. On Thursday, the House gave final approval to a bill that adds $10 to the cost of certain specialty license plates to provide money for nonlethal methods to control the growing gray wolf populations in Eastern Washington. After being pulled out of committee by a special parliamentary maneuver, it passed unanimously.
OLYMPIA – The key witness at a hearing Wednesday on whether Eastern Washington needs new laws on wolves didn’t say a word. Shelby, a 6-year-old Siberian Husky mix, sat or lay quietly while county commissioners, cattlemen and wildlife officials warned about the growing danger posed by wolves in Eastern Washington. Then she followed her owner John Stevie to the witness table, where he explained how the 60-pound dog knows about wolves firsthand.
OLYMPIA – Legislators in different chambers approved two very different plans Friday to address the growing wolf population in Eastern Washington. The Senate voted to allow people to shoot wolves that create “imminent danger” to themselves, other people, their pets or livestock. The House voted to set up a fund that would compensate farmers and ranchers for livestock losses by selling license plates with wolves on them.
OLYMPIA – Farmers, ranchers and county officials from Eastern Washington said a plan to manage wolves as they are re-established in the state has good ideas but doesn’t go far enough to cover their potential losses or protect their property. But wildlife advocates warned that proposals to loosen the restrictions for shooting predators go too far and could encourage “an open season” on wolves.
A Colville-area farmer and businessman was named on Thursday to succeed retiring GOP state Sen. Bob Morton, who served 22 years from Washington’s 7th Legislative District. John Smith, a Republican, won 13 out of 15 votes from county commissioners, who gathered in Colville on Thursday to make the appointment for the two years remaining on Morton’s term in the Senate.
A county commissioner, a former legislator and a former legislative aide are among five applicants so far for an open state Senate seat in Northeast Washington’s 7th District. The seat becomes open Jan. 1 when Sen. Bob Morton, a 22-year veteran legislator, retires halfway through his term. Republican precinct committee officers in the district will nominate as many as three possible replacements to the county commissioners from Spokane, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Ferry and Okanogan counties, who must choose one through a majority vote.