November 25, 2022

On your marks, get set, file: Political candidates will officially submit paperwork to run for office this week

Let the races officially begin – it’s ranking week.

Between Monday and Friday, hundreds of federal, state and local politicians will show up to run for office. All applicants must officially submit their applications within the next five weekdays.

Many have announced that they have been running and campaigning for months, but several big names will no doubt throw their hats in the ring over the next few days, shaking up the campaign landscape at the last minute.

Here are the offices up for election and who is running in the August primary so far.

Spokane County Commission

The 2022 election will be historic for the Spokane County Commission.

For the first time, voters will elect five, not three, commissioners, each representing a district rather than the county as a whole.

Surprisingly, relatively few candidates were vying for the five spots as of mid-May.

In District 1, which covers much of west Spokane, two political recruits announced their candidacies.

Chris Jordan, a lawyer with the Washington state attorney general’s office in Spokane who specializes in child safety issues, is running as a Democrat. Kim Plese, sister of Superior Court Judge Annette Plese and former owner of Plese Printing and Marketing, is running as a Republican.

District 2, Spokane’s East District, could be a two-horse race between a current and former Spokane City Council member.

Democrat Amber Waldref, sister of U.S. District Attorney for Eastern Washington Vanessa Waldref, served the maximum two terms on the Spokane City Council from 2009 to 2017. She will try to beat the current Northeast City Councilman of Spokane, Michael Cathcart, a Republican who won the election in 2019.

Districts 3 and 4 didn’t have much intrigue at first. The incumbents present themselves unopposed for the two seats.

Josh Kerns, a Republican, hopes to represent District 3, which covers the northern part of Spokane County and the Spokane Valley. Spokane County Commissioners Republican Chair Mary Kuney wants to win the election in District 4, which includes the southern Spokane Valley and southeast portion of the county.

District 5 could become the county commissioners’ most exciting race. The district, which includes northwest Spokane and part of upper South Hill, leans slightly Republican, but its voters have consistently opted for GOP and Democratic candidates.

Incumbent Commissioner Al French, a Republican who has been in city and county politics for two decades, hopes to retain his seat. He faces two challengers with no political experience.

Democrat Maggie Yates led the region’s criminal justice reform efforts for more than three years as Spokane County’s regional law and justice administrator before stepping down in January. Independent Tara Carter, a district court clerk, also hopes to overthrow French.

Spokane County District Attorney

Voters could watch the county attorney’s race closely this year.

Larry Haskell, the incumbent Republican, has come under fire for his wife’s racist comments on social media. He will try to fend off three challengers.

Republican Stefanie Collins, one of Haskell’s senior assistant prosecutors, said she would be “tough and fair” if she won the election and touted her record of reducing recidivism.

Stephanie Olsen, a Republican and former assistant Spokane County district attorney, is posing as a politically moderate alternative to Haskell.

No Democrats have entered the field yet, but local attorney and pastor Debra Conklin is running with no party affiliation. Conklin has publicly criticized Haskell and the way he runs the district attorney’s office. She worked as an assistant district attorney in Clallam County in the 1980s and is a member of the Democratic precinct committee.

Spokane County Sheriff

A trio of candidates are vying to replace longtime Republican sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, who has announced he is retiring and moving to Wyoming.

John Nowels, Wade Nelson and Mike Zollars are all Republicans with at least two decades of experience in the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.

Nowels, an undersheriff, has Knezovich’s approval.

Nelson is a sheriff’s office detective who went on leave last year and hasn’t worked for the county since.

Zollars left the sheriff’s office last year as a lieutenant after 33 years with the agency. He is now a Sergeant in the Kalispel Tribal Police.

Longtime deputy Craig Chamberlin, whom Knezovich fired shortly after announcing he was running for sheriff in February, pulled out of the running last month.

Spokane County Auditor

Two familiar names will compete to become an auditor and oversee county elections.

Vicky Dalton, the county’s only elected Democrat, wants to win another term. She has been the County Auditor since 1998.

State Rep. Bob McCaslin, a Spokane Valley Republican representing the 4th Legislative District, will attempt to take Dalton’s position. McCaslin is stepping down from the state legislature.

Spokane County Treasurer, Clerk and Assessor

Treasurer Michael Baumgartner, Clerk Timothy Fitzgerald and Assessor Tom Konis are yet to compete. All three are Republican incumbents.

State Legislative Assembly

Three candidates for the 3rd Legislative District have filed with the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission.

Rep. Marcus Riccelli, a Democrat from Spokane, has no challenger so far. His colleague, Spokane Democrat Timm Ormsby, will face Republican Natalie Poulson. Poulson made headlines this fall after she was placed on administrative leave by her employer, Finch Elementary, for refusing to wear a mask in violation of state COVID-19 safety mandates.

Three candidates from the 4th Legislative District filed a case with the Public Disclosure Commission.

Representative Rob Chase, a Republican from Liberty Lake, is currently unopposed. Republicans Suzanne Schmidt and Mary Jo Bolt are trying to win the seat that McCaslin will vacate at the end of the year.

The incumbents, all of Spokane, are alone in races in the 6th Legislative District. Republican Representatives Jenny Graham and Mike Volz, as well as Republican Senator Jeff Holy, all hope to stay in Olympia.

It’s the same story in the 7th Legislative District. Sen. Shelly Short (R-Addy), Rep. Jacquelin Maycumber (R-Republic), and Rep. Joel Kretz (R-Wauconda) are all lacking challengers and all hoping for re-election.

The undisputed incumbent theme continues in the 9th Legislative District where Republican Representatives Joe Schmick (R-Colfax) and Mary Dye (R-Pomeroy) want to keep their seats.

Secretary of State

Incumbent Democrat Steve Hobbs faces a handful of challengers. He is the only Democrat in the race so far. Hobbs was nominated by Gov. Jay Inslee last year to replace Republican Kim Wyman, who served as secretary of state for eight years before leaving to take up an election security post in the Biden administration.

Julie Anderson, who has not registered a party affiliation with the Public Disclosure Commission, is closest to Hobbs in campaign fundraising. She raised $108,000 compared to Hobbs’ $222,000. None of Hobbs’ other opponents raised more than $20,000.

United States House of Representatives

Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers plans to seek her 10th term in Congress to represent eastern Washington.

McMorris Rodgers, who once chaired the House Republican Conference and is currently a ranking member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, has never received less than 55% of the vote in a popular general election during his 18 years in Congress.

Seeking to unseat McMorris Rodgers, according to fundraising documents, two Democrats: Natasha Hill and Ann-Marie Danimus.

Danimus, the owner of a marketing business in the Spokane Valley, has raised nearly $110,000 to support his campaign, according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission. Hill, an attorney, raised just over $77,000.

McMorris Rodgers is bringing in $3.6 million in contributions this campaign cycle.

No other candidate had filed with the FEC as of Thursday. The seat has attracted interest from independent and libertarian candidates in previous primaries.

In central Washington’s 4th District, Republican Dan Newhouse faces a host of challengers.

He faces Republicans Bradley Klippert, Corey Gibson, Loren Culp and Jerrod Sessler, as well as Democrat Doug White.

Newhouse easily leads his opponents in campaign fundraising. It raised $1.2 million, topping Sessler’s $456,000, White’s $231,000 and Culp’s $191,000.

US Senate

Senator Patty Murray is running again.

Five candidates have filed with the FEC to run against it, though none of them have high profile: Democrats Robert Kirby and Nicolaus Sleister, Republicans Tiffany Smiley and Bob Hagglund, and independent Naz Paul will try to bring down Murray, who has been a senator since 1993.

Murray has $11.7 million in campaign funds. Smiley raised $4.2 million. None of the other Senate candidates raised more than $14,000.

Journalist Emma Epperly contributed to this story.