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

City Council President Ben Stuckart eyes mayor’s office in 2019 race

Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart speaks on Oct. 10, 2014. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Spokane Mayor David Condon has more than three years left in his term, but a familiar opponent already has his eye on filling the seat in 2020.

City Council President Ben Stuckart, who has butted heads with Condon on a number of issues including the investigation into the termination of former Spokane police Chief Frank Straub, filed in April with the Washington Public Disclosure Commission to run for mayor in 2019.

Stuckart, who is prevented by term limits from running again as council president, said the decision to file early was made so he could begin raising campaign money early next year.

“The last two election cycles have been very, very expensive,” Stuckart said. “The person that ended up winning the last two election cycles put a lot of money into it.”

Condon, who defeated challenger Shar Lichty in last year’s campaign and became the first two-term mayor of Spokane since 1973, raised more than $403,000 in his successful bid.

Stuckart, who faced a challenge from former state lawmaker John Ahern for his council president position, raised more than $96,000 in that campaign.

Stuckart considered challenging Condon in the last city election, but the death of his father, Larry Stuckart, put those plans on hold.

While the April filing doesn’t force Stuckart to run, the City Council president said he’s focused on competing for the job as mayor, specifically to continue policies including the city’s targeted investment program for neighborhoods and its sustainability programs.

“All those policies are really going to take a strong leader, someone that understands city government and started some of those processes,” Stuckart said.

Stuckart had not filed any campaign contributions with the commission as of Tuesday. Fellow council members Lori Kinnear and Karen Stratton already have filed to run in 2019 and list contributions totaling about $1,500 each. Councilman Breean Beggs has filed to run in 2017 to retain the seat on the council he was appointed to earlier this year.