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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane-area legislative races fill up as candidate filing week starts

UPDATED: Tue., May 12, 2020

A Spokane attorney who believes the COVID-19 pandemic needs to be taken seriously was among candidates who filed Monday for the Legislature.

Tom McGarry, a member of the Spokane Fire District 9 board, said he believes Rep. Jenny Graham’s calls to open up the economy quickly don’t take science into account. Although everyone wants to get back to work as soon as possible, he supports reopening in a more planned way as Gov. Jay Inslee has ordered.

“If this virus can get into the White House, it can get into your house as well,” he said. “The governor’s being advised by some top medical experts. I think (his plan) is responsible.”

Originally from Wyoming, McGarry, 61, has lived in Spokane since 1986 when he entered Gonzaga Law School. He’s been an attorney since 1989 and mainly practices housing law. He and his wife, Mary Wissink, live just north of the Spokane city limits.

He’s running as a Democrat in the district that includes portions of north and south Spokane and the West Plains. Graham, a Republican, filed for her second term Monday.

Another challenger filing Monday was Mike Conrad, chief executive officer of The Savory Butcher, a company that sells meat in bulk and delivers it to locations where customers can pick it up, like church parking lots.

Conrad, 50, said his decision to run is based on “my distrust and dislike for state agencies” and he wants to be a voice for small business owners, who he feels don’t have a voice in state government.

“I can do more than just hire lawyers to fight them,” he said. He’d seek to build coalitions with other legislators to serve as watchdogs on state agencies either by changing laws or “shining a light on bad actors.”

Conrad filed as a Republican for a seat currently held by another Republican, Bob McCaslin, who is expected to seek re-election.

“This is nothing against Bob. I’m doing this because I’m tired of state regulators,” he said.

Under Washington’s primary system, the top two vote-getters in each race advance to the general election regardless of party, so it is possible to have two Republicans or two Democrats on the November ballot.

Filing for spots on Spokane-area ballots Monday were the following:

Commissioner District 1: Josh Kerns, Republican

District 3 Senate: Andy Billig, Democrat

District 3 House Pos. 1: Marcus Riccelli, Democrat

District 3 House Pos. 2: Timm Ormsby, Democrat

District 4 Senate: Mike Padden, Republican

District 4 House Pos. 1: Leonard Christian, Republican; Lori Feagan, Democrat

District 4 House Pos. 2: Mike Conrad, Republican

District 9 Senate: Mark Schoesler, Republican

District 9 House Pos. 1: Mary Dye, Republican

District 9 House Pos. 2: Joe Schmick, Republican

District 6 House Pos. 1: Mike Volz, Republican

District 6 House Pos. 2: Jenny Graham Republican; Tom McGarry, Democrat

Superior Court Pos. 1: Annette Plese

Superior Court Pos. 2: Charnelle Bjelkengren

Superior Court Pos. 3: Ray Clary

Superior Court Pos. 4: Julie McKay

Superior Court Pos. 5: Michael Price

Superior Court Pos. 6: Tony Hazel

Superior Court Pos. 7: Maryann Moreno

Superior Court Pos. 9: John Cooney

Superior Court Pos. 10: Michelle Szambelan

Superior Court Pos. 11: Timothy Fennessy

Superior Court Pos. 12: Rachelle Anderson

Editor’s Note: Tracy Staab filed for the Court of Appeals. An early version of this story had her listed for the wrong judicial seat.

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