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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Three new Spokane County commissioner candidates highlight penultimate day of filing week

An election ballot is placed in ballot box outside of the Spokane Public Library on Nov. 7, 2016, in downtown Spokane. The candidate fields for the August primary election are starting to take shape.   (Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review)

Local political races got more interesting on Thursday, the penultimate day of filing week.

Candidates for local office have to officially file this week in order to appear on the ballot for the August primary election. The majority of politicians announce their candidacies weeks or months in advance, but a number of latecomers and surprise names typically emerge during the five-day filing window.

A few familiar names and unknown political rookies joined the fray Thursday.

There’s finally competition for Spokane County Commissioner District 4, which covers southern Spokane Valley, Liberty Lake and the southeastern portion of the county.

Heading into Thursday, Republican incumbent Mary Kuney lacked an opponent. Now she has two from her own party.

Paul Brian Noble, a pastor at Spokane Valley Assembly Church and CEO of Peacemaker Ministries, said he’d focus on bringing back civility and reducing crime if elected.

“I really want to restore a sense of safety,” Noble said. “Really just taking that stand for freedom and for people and allowing people to live their lives in a safe community.”

Spokane Valley Realtor Chris McIntosh is also trying to unseat Kuney. McIntosh said he’s focused on addressing homelessness, lowering taxes and ensuring “election integrity.”

“I love freedom,” he said. “I love this country and I love this county, and I believe I can change it.”

The field also got deeper in County Commissioner District 2, which covers east Spokane.

Former Spokane City Councilman Bob Apple, who has previously run for office as both a Democrat and a Republican, is getting back into politics. He’s filed as a Republican for this election and said he’ll be tough on crime and prioritize fiscal responsibility if voters put him on the county commission.

“I’m mad. I want things fixed. I know the government’s broken at many levels,” Apple said. “We need to make sure that people are getting the best bang for their buck.”

Apple’s entrance makes him the third District 2 candidate with City Council experience. He’ll run against incumbent City Councilman Michael Cathcart, a Republican, and Democrat Amber Waldref, a former city councilwoman.

At the state level, Democrat Ted Cummings has joined the battle for state representative in the 4th Legislative District. Competition for that seat could be especially fierce because the man who currently holds the job, Republican Bob McCaslin of Spokane Valley, is leaving the Legislature to run for county auditor.

Cummings, a Kaiser Aluminum steel worker who has previously run for office against County Commissioner Josh Kerns and former Rep. Matt Shea, will face off against Republicans Suzanne Schmidt and MJ Bolt.

“My platform is going to be to run against the entire Republican Party,” Cummings said. “Our country is at a really dangerous point. I believe our democracy is threatened. I believe that the Republican Party from top to bottom is a terrorist organization and a hate group.”

Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers will have at least one GOP opponent in the primary in addition to Democratic challengers.

Sean Clynch of Four Lakes on the West Plains filed to run against the congresswoman. Clynch couldn’t be reached for comment, but according to his campaign website, he’s running on a platform of “Jacksonian Reform,” referring to former President Andrew Jackson.

“I’m running for Congress to repair the damage wrought to our country by progressive policies,” Clynch writes on his website, adding that “The lawless Biden administration, working hand in glove with criminal cartels to take down the southern border, has disqualified Democrats from holding power for a generation.”

Clynch writes that he wants to “curb the power of the deep state,” believes wokeness “detests everything patriotic Americans hold dear” and wants to remove all undocumented immigrants.

Filing week ends Friday. Based on recent history, it’s likely a few surprise candidates will decide to file at the last minute.

The field through Thursday

Spokane County Commission:

District 1: Kim Plese (R), Chris Jordan (D)

District 2: Amber Waldref (D), Michael Cathcart (R), Bob Apple (R)

District 3: Josh Kerns (R)

District 4: Mary Kuney (R), Paul Brian Noble (R), Chris McIntosh (R)

District 5: Al French (R), Don Harmon (R), Tara Carter (independent), Maggie Yates (D)

Spokane County prosecutor: Larry Haskell (R), Stephanie Olsen (R), Stefanie Collins (R), Deb Conklin (nonpartisan)

Spokane County Sheriff: John Nowels (R), Michael Zollars (R), Wade Nelson (R)

Spokane County auditor: Vicky Dalton (D), Bob McCaslin (R)

Spokane County treasurer: Michael Baumgartner (R)

Spokane County assessor: Tom Konis (R)

Spokane County clerk: Tim Fitzgerald (R)

3rd Legislative District: Representative, Position 1: Marcus Riccelli (D), Scotty Nicol (R)

Representative, Position 2: Timm Ormsby (D), Patrick Spurlock (no party affiliation), Natalie Poulson (R)

4th Legislative District: Representative, Position 1: Suzanne Schmidt (R), MJ Bolt (R), Ted Cummings (D)

Representative, Position 2: Rob Chase (R)

6th Legislative District: Representative, Position 1: Mike Volz (R)

Representative, Position 2: Jenny Graham (R)

Senator: Jeff Holy (R)

7th Legislative District: Representative, Position 1: Jacquelin Maycumber (R)

Representative, Position 2: Joel Kretz (R)

Senator: Shelly Short (R)

9th Legislative District: Representative, Position 1: Mary Dye (R)

Representative, Position 2: Joe Schmick (R)

U.S. House of Representatives: Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R), Ann Marie Danimus (D), Natasha Hill (D), Sean Clynch (R)

Colin Tiernan can be reached at (509) 459-5039 or at