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

Incumbent Larry Haskell wins third term as Spokane County prosecutor

Incumbent Spokane County Prosecutor Larry Haskell won a third term in Tuesday’s election.

Haskell led with 55.7% of the vote, with nonpartisan candidate Deb Conklin garnering 43.9%.

“I’m very pleased by it. Thank you to everyone who voted, especially those that voted for me,” Haskell said following the results. “I do believe I’m the right person to be in the office.”

While disappointed, Conklin said she was glad her candidacy forced discussion on myriad issues.

“We fought a good fight,” Conklin said. “We raised the issues. We got the conversation going.”

Haskell, 68, an Air Force veteran who was first elected prosecutor in 2014, drew no challengers when he was re-elected in 2018. But several scandals involving racist social media posts by his wife, Lesley Haskell, encouraged three opponents to jump into the race for the 2022 primary.

Conklin, 69, a longtime United Methodist pastor, decided to run as a nonpartisan candidate but touts largely progressive views, including advocation for a variety of criminal justice reforms and using the prosecutor’s office as a tool for police accountability. Conklin was a deputy prosecuting attorney in Clallam County for four years in the late 1980s and has not practiced law since, but renewed her bar license to run against Haskell.

She beat out two Republican challengers in the primary to face Haskell in the general election.

“I had hoped that Spokane County was really ready to address the cultural bias that we all are a part of and that is creating disparities in how we’re treating people of color,” Conklin said after conceding the race Tuesday. “Clearly, we have a lot more work to do. The fight will go on.”

In debates, Haskell argued he is far more qualified for the job, with decades of prosecuting experience and years managing the office.

“The question for the voters is, does four years of experience as a deputy prosecutor when Ronald Reagan was the president the answer to the county?” Haskell said at a Spokesman-Review debate last month.

Conklin argued that Haskell’s tough-on-crime approach hasn’t been working, and that the community is ready for a more holistic approach to justice that allows people to be rehabilitated.

Haskell raised more than $50,000 in the race with endorsements from both the Spokane police and Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputies unions, Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, and donations from a slew of deputy prosecuting attorneys and other local attorneys.

Conklin raised more than $34,000, with endorsements from Spokane City Council President Breean Beggs, City Council member Betsy Wilkerson, the Spokane Firefighters Union and the Alliance for Gun Responsibility.

Spokesman Review reporter James Hanlon contributed to this story.