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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Primary election creates odd bedfellows

Former deputy prosecutor endorses man who fired him

Jonathan Brunt And Jim Camden The Spokesman-Review

When he announced his candidacy for Spokane County prosecutor, Dave Stevens called the incumbent, Steve Tucker, an “absent administrator.”

But after coming in fourth in a six-way primary, Stevens said this week he will endorse Tucker for prosecutor in the November election.

Stevens, a former deputy prosecutor and vice chairman of the Spokane County Republican Party, said the party is uniting after a primary that included a few tough battles between GOP candidates.

“I’m willing to endorse Tucker,” said Stevens, who was fired by Tucker soon after announcing his candidacy. “That should really tell you something.”

Officials in the Republican and Democratic parties this week are analyzing the results of last week’s primary and in many cases – such as the GOP race for prosecutor – show signs of uniting.

Another Republican prosecutor candidate, Chris Bugbee, said he will support Tucker in the general election.

In others cases, splits appear.

Washington state Democrats are saying that under party rules, Daryl Romeyn, who finished second in last week’s primary for Eastern Washington’s 5th Congressional District, cannot be considered their nominee, which limits the help he can get from the party’s Coordinated Campaign effort.

A memo from state party vice chairwoman Sharon Smith to local party leaders said they were free to endorse Romeyn should he seek their endorsement and should they feel an endorsement is warranted. But the party nominated Clyde Cordero, whom party leaders recruited, at the state convention in June, and there’s no mechanism to switch that to Romeyn.

Cordero finished fourth, behind Romeyn and perennial candidate Barbara Lampert, of Spokane. Smith’s memo suggested the party will pay relatively little attention to the congressional race, focusing instead on the U.S. Senate race:

“We cannot for a moment take our eye off of ensuring the re-election of Senator (Patty) Murray which relies heavily on Eastern Washington’s ability to deliver votes like never before,” Smith wrote.

Romeyn said he will be the one listed on the ballot as preferring the Democratic Party, and “that’s really all that matters.”

“I’m reaching out to the party, and I think everybody will come around,” Romeyn said.

Lampert said she hadn’t been asked for her endorsement, but she wouldn’t endorse Romeyn because they don’t agree on fiscal or social issues.

In the GOP, questions remain over party unity for the state House seat representing the 6th Legislative District.

When third-place finisher Republican Shelly O’Quinn announced the end of her campaign in a news release on Monday, it didn’t say if she would throw her support behind the top Republican candidate, former state Rep. John Ahern.

O’Quinn asked voters in the news release “to support the exceptional candidates who can carry Spokane and all of Washington into a more prosperous future.”

Ahern will face first-place primary finisher incumbent Democrat John Driscoll in the November election. The battle between O’Quinn and Ahern was heated, especially in the final months of the campaign.

Attempts made to reach O’Quinn on Tuesday were unsuccessful.

Republicans running for county commissioner show more signs of unity.

Steve Salvatori, a Republican who came in fourth in a close battle to take on Democratic incumbent Bonnie Mager, said he’s ready to endorse Al French or Jeff Holy. French was leading Holy by about 175 votes after counting Tuesday.

Salvatori, who supported O’Quinn for state House during the primary, added that he will back Ahern in the general election.

“Obviously there’s been some well-publicized bumps and bruises, but there’s a good effort under way at party unity now,” Salvatori said.

A few candidates who lost last week don’t have to worry about endorsing another member of their party for the office they hoped to win. Among them is Andrew Jackson, a Democrat who came in third for county assessor. He said Tuesday that he won’t endorse either Republican who finished first and second in the assessor’s election.

“I plan to write somebody in,” Jackson said, without saying who it will be.