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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Democrat joins prosecutor race

Attorney Malone hopes to earn party’s backing

A Democrat is joining the race for Spokane County prosecutor.

Longtime local attorney Frank Malone is officially launching his bid to challenge Prosecutor Steve Tucker today. Meanwhile, Tucker is scheduled to meet today with Deputy Prosecutor Dave Stevens, who was suspended earlier this month after Stevens announced his own bid to run for prosecutor.

“We are going to consider options,” Tucker said last week.

Stevens and Tucker are both Republicans.

Stevens said he doesn’t know what will happen with his job. He’s been a deputy prosecutor since 2002 and said he makes $86,000 a year.

“I wonder how much this week has cost. I’ve been paid a week to stay home, and it’s not my vacation time,” Stevens said last week.

The flap began two weeks ago after Stevens announced his candidacy by criticizing Tucker’s leadership, calling him as an “absent administrator.”

Tucker questioned why the public should pay someone to run against his boss and wrote to Stevens that he “violated behavioral standards by not effectively communicating with other county employees and not getting along with other co-workers and managers.”

Malone did not blatantly echo Stevens’ “absent administrator” comment, but he did allude to Tucker’s lack of public presence.

“I like his management team,” Malone said of Tucker. “But I would be coordinating with other county officials. I would be out in the community. The community loves (Sheriff) Ozzie Knezovich because he’s out there all over the place. That’s what you do to get public support.”

Malone, 67, has been an attorney since 1985. A graduate of Gonzaga University School of Law, he also served 27 years in the Air Force and Air National Guard. Malone served as a navigator in both B-52 bombers and later the KC-135 tankers during the Vietnam and Desert Storm wars, he said.

“A couple of months ago, I was hanging around the courthouse and there was considerable dissatisfaction with how the criminal justice system, which is 80 percent of the budget, was working,” Malone said. “It occurred to me that there might be some support for someone with management experience and with the toughness to handle the problems at the courthouse.”

Malone currently practices both criminal defense and family law, and most recently has been working to help distressed homeowners caught in the housing crisis, he said.

The filing deadline for the race is June 11. The two candidates with the most votes in the Aug. 17 primary, regardless of party affiliation, will advance to the November general election.

Malone said he will seek his party’s nomination.

Amy Biviano, the chairwoman of Spokane County Democrats, said she’s thrilled that Malone has chosen to challenge Tucker.

“I know he’s a great guy,” Biviano said. “He has a lot of experience and would be a very qualified candidate.”