OLYMPIA – Rep. Susan Fagan delivered a letter to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee officially resigning her 9th District seat as of today.
Fagan, R-Pullman, announced her resignation Wednesday in the wake of an ongoing investigation by the Legislative Ethics Board into allegations she falsified expense reports.
“It is important that the people of the Ninth Legislative District be fully represented during the special session,” she wrote.
The 30-day clock on a special session started Wednesday. There might not be any important votes to take for the next few days, but eventually legislators are going to vote on the operating, capital and transportation budgets, plus perhaps other contentious topics where an extra vote one way or another might decide an issue.
By resigning before May 11, the first day for candidates to file for office, Fagan’s seat will be part of a special election this fall. Had she waited, her replacement wouldn’t run until 2016.
But the process of filling the seat can be time consuming, and may take more than 11 days. So people interested in the seat, even if the decision isn’t made or they don’t get the appointment, can sign up to run during filing week. Open seats in this strongly Republican district can draw a crowd, while incumbent Republicans often run unopposed, or with only token opposition. Under state law, the top two vote-getters in the primary advance to the general election, regardless of party.
Because the 9th District has all or parts of six counties, the Republican State Central Committee will propose three nominees for the seat. The party typically gets those nominees from Republican precinct officers in the district, and submits the list to county commissioners of the six counties, who will have 60 days to meet and get a majority on one.
If the commissioners can’t agree after 60 days, Inslee makes the appointment from the list within the next 30. Odds are that won’t happen because Republicans are not likely to let a Democratic governor make the choice.
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