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Sunday, May 31, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Three Republicans want Shelly O’Quinn’s seat on the Spokane County Commission

UPDATED: Mon., May 1, 2017

Two more people have confirmed plans to seek appointment to Shelly O’Quinn’s seat on the Spokane County Commission after she vacates the position in June.

Mary Kuney, the county’s chief deputy auditor, and John Guarisco, an account manager at a Spokane Valley marketing firm, told The Spokesman-Review on Monday that they will ask Republican Party precinct officers to recommend them for the commission seat.

Rob Chase, the county’s elected treasurer, last week expressed his desire to serve on the commission.

That makes three potential appointees with some degree of experience in finances. They’re vying to represent District 2, which encompasses the southeastern third of the county including Spokane Valley.

Kuney, a certified public accountant, worked for the state auditor’s office from 1993 to 2004. She has since worked for Contineo Consulting, a major accounting firm, and co-founded Summit Tea Co.

She campaigned to unseat Chase during his re-election bid in 2014. She lost in the primary and the following year started her current job in the Spokane County Auditor’s Office.

Guarisco sits on the board of directors of the Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce. A newcomer to politics, he co-owned Luigi’s Italian Restaurant throughout the 1990s and later founded his own marketing firm before merging with MDI Marketing, where he currently works.

O’Quinn joined the County Commission in 2012 after defeating Chase in the primary and Democrat Daryl Romeyn in the general election. After her re-election in November, O’Quinn announced last month she will resign to serve as chief executive of the Inland Northwest Community Foundation.

She became the second recent county commissioner to leave office in the middle of a term, after former colleague Todd Mielke left to lead Greater Spokane Incorporated in January 2015. Nancy McLaughlin was appointed to replace Mielke, and then lost her election bid to Josh Kerns in November.

Because O’Quinn is a Republican, her replacement must also be one, according to state law.

The local Republican Party will meet to select up to three nominees. Then the two remaining county commissioners, Kerns and Al French, will have 60 days to pick a replacement from the list of nominees, or the responsibility of naming a successor will fall to Gov. Jay Inslee.

Kerns and French are also Republicans.

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