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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Election Results

Candidate Votes Pct
John Nowels (R) 112,316 59.12%
Wade Nelson (R) 77,652 40.88%

* 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.

The Candidates

John Nowels

Newman Lake, Washington

Education: Graduated from Central Valley High School. Graduated from Eastern Washington University with bachelor's degree in criminal justice. Graduated from University of Oklahoma with master's degree in organizational leadership.

Political experience: Republican precinct committee officer.

Work experience: Worked 24 years at Spokane County Sheriff's Office in various roles, including patrolman, traffic, property crimes detective, undercover narcotics detective and supervisor, chief criminal deputy and current undersheriff. 

Family: Married. Has four children.

Fundraising: $60,627.57 as of July 13, including Avista Utilities, Spokane County deputy prosecuting attorneys Preston McCollam and Sharon Hedlund, Spokane attorney Joe Kuhlman, Spokane County Commissioner Mary Kuney, Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, sheriff's office Cpl. and spokesman Mark Gregory and other sheriff's office employees. 

Wade Nelson


Education: Graduated from Creston High School in Creston, Washington. Spent one year in college. 

Political experience: None

Work experience: Worked six years as intelligence specialist in U.S. Navy. Worked two years at a computer company. Worked 21 years at the Spokane County Sheriff's Office in various roles, including patrolman, search and rescue, marine enforcement, emergency operations team, defense tactics instructor, sexual assault unit detective and women's self-defense course instructor.

Family: Married. Has three children. 

Fundraising: $22,956.80, as of July 13, including more than half from himself or "Wade Nelson For Sheriff." 

Related Media

Complete Coverage

Voters pick Nowels to replace Knezovich as sheriff

Undersheriff John Nowels will be the new sheriff after defeating longtime sheriff’s office employee Wade Nelson in Tuesday’s general election.

Candidates to replace Knezovich disagree on Camp Hope response as county proclaims emergency there

Republicans John Nowels and Wade Nelson completely disagree on how the county and city should be handling the 450-person homeless encampment along Interstate 90 in east Spokane. 

KSPS debate: Nowels and Nelson

KSPS hosted this debate between Republicans John Nowels and Wade Nelson for Spokane County sheriff. Spokesman-Review reporter Garrett Cabeza and Inlander reporter Nate Sanford were panelists for the event.

Spokane County candidates address ‘homelessness,’ ‘lawlessness’ during Saturday forum in Spokane Valley

Sheriff hopeful John Nowels, his fellow Republican opponent Wade Nelson and other candidates for office in Eastern Washington fielded questions Saturday at a candidate forum hosted by Valley Assembly of God at the Spokane Valley church.

Nowels or Nelson will replace longtime Spokane County Sheriff Knezovich

A new man will take the reins of the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office for the first time in 16 years come January.

Sheriff candidates talk Camp Hope, advocate for new jail

From Camp Hope to a potential new jail, two Republicans with more than 20 years of experience at the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office fielded questions and made some of their final pitches to voters Thursday night as the race for sheriff nears an end.

Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich fires back after criticism to clear Camp Hope

Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich intends to handle the East Central homeless camp known as Camp Hope the same way that Spokane Valley handles homeless camps. A “hand up” not a “hand out,” he said.

Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich says homeless encampment an ‘ongoing protest,’ seeks warrant to clear it in October

“It’s not my responsibility to figure out how to fix your mess,” Knezovich, who wrote a letter to the Washington Department of Transportation on Thursday announcing his intentions to break up Camp Hope by mid-October, said in an hourlong news conference Friday, addressing local and state agencies. “It is my responsibility to clean it up.” 

Nowels, Nelson finish in top two to replace outgoing Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich

The two candidates for Spokane County sheriff in November will be Ozzie Knezovich’s right-hand man and a 21-year veteran of the department.

Haven’t yet voted in the primary election? Here’s what’s at stake in Spokane County

For those who liking waiting to the last minute to cast their ballots, here’s a look at the candidate field. 

Three Republicans vie to replace four-term Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich

There will be a new sheriff in town come January, and it will be a Republican with at least two decades of experience in the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.

Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich endorses undersheriff in November election

“Sheriff Ozzie has been a huge advocate for this community,” Undersheriff John Nowels, 49, said in an interview this week. “ I understand what his vision for Spokane has been, and what it is going into the future. I have a similar vision for it.”