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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

State Rep. Bob McCaslin to retire from Legislature, run for county auditor

State Rep. Bob McCaslin speaks at a debate with his opponent, Mary May, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018 at CenterPlace in Spokane Valley. Jesse Tinsley/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW  (JESSE TINSLEY)

OLYMPIA – Rep. Bob McCaslin, R-Spokane Valley, will retire from the state House of Representatives after this session to run for Spokane County auditor.

McCaslin, a retired teacher, was first elected to the Legislature, representing the 4th Legislative District, in 2014. He announced his retirement in a floor speech on Saturday.

“It’s been a real privilege to do this,” McCaslin said on the floor. “I’m sad, but I’m looking forward to new challenges.”

McCaslin spent his time in the Legislature working on education, transportation and children, youth and families committees. McCaslin was a supporter of former Rep. Matt Shea, who was accused of domestic terrorism and eventually kicked out of the Republican caucus. McCaslin has supported many of the same proposals as Shea did when he was in office.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, McCaslin joined a number of other lawmakers who spoke out against vaccine and mask mandates. McCaslin was part of a lawsuit against Democratic leaders over the House requirement to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination to be on the floor. Though he is vaccinated, McCaslin said in court documents he refused to show his vaccination card because it was “unconstitutional and unlawful.”

The House has removed its vaccine requirement, beginning Tuesday.

Now, McCaslin is looking to take Vicky Dalton’s spot as county auditor. Dalton has been the county auditor since 1999 but has not filed yet to run for re-election.

Filing week begins May 16, so candidates have until then to officially file to run. Just because Dalton has not yet filed or announced she’s running doesn’t mean she won’t run again.

“I still love the work that I do and I can imagine myself continuing to do that work,” Dalton said in an interview.

Dalton didn’t share any specific thoughts on McCaslin running for auditor, but she emphasized that whoever holds the office should be qualified.

“I think in every one of these elected positions it’s really up to the voters that they do their research, not only on a candidate, but also what the duties of the position are and the qualifications that are necessary to really do those duties well,” Dalton said.

McCaslin said he thinks the people of Spokane would like a “viable” second choice.

“I think running again (in the Legislature) would’ve been the easiest thing to do,” McCaslin told The Spokesman-Review. “But I’ve never been one to do the easy thing.”

McCaslin was reported to join other Republican lawmakers at an unofficial public hearing in Snohomish to encourage the public to bring forward evidence of voting fraud or irregularities in the 2020 election, according to The Seattle Times. Numerous elections officials in the country and in Washington have discredited claims that the 2020 election had widespread voting fraud.

The role of the county auditor is to oversee elections and voter registration, record county records, license vehicles and vessels and handle financial services for the county.

McCaslin’s priorities include “protecting citizens’ tax dollars, engaging the public in understanding the many roles of the County Auditor’s office through transparency measures, and remaining accountable to the public,” according to a news release announcing his campaign.

In an interview, McCaslin said he wants to make the auditor’s office more efficient and give the public a better idea of what it does.

S-R reporter Colin Tiernan contributed to this story.

Laurel Demkovich's reporting for The Spokesman-Review is funded in part by Report for America and by members of the Spokane community. This story can be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact our newspaper’s managing editor.