Spokane City Council Candidate Tyler LeMasters Sued Over Question to His Residency

Aug 18, 2021

Spokane City Council Candidate Tyler LeMasters
Credit Courtesy of Tyler LeMasters

Two people are suing Spokane City Council candidate Tyler LeMasters, asking a judge to remove him from the November ballot.

They argue he doesn’t meet a key requirement to be eligible to be a city council member, being a resident of his district for a year.

LeMasters, a realtor who worked as a legislative aid for Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, is running against Betsy Wilkerson for the seat representing part of downtown, the South Hill and East Central.

He is being sued by Paul Dillon, the spokesman for Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho who also lives in the district, and Mary Winkes, another South Hill resident who is also the interim chair of a South Hill neighborhood council. Dillon said the complaint is funded by the Planned Parenthood Pac.

In a phone call earlier this week, Dillon argued LeMasters doesn’t meet the requirements to represent his district. “It’s really unfortunate that he’s trying to deceive voters in the district," he said.

In their lawsuit, they argue that LeMasters was working for the congresswoman in Washington D.C until November of last year and living in Virginia. They argue voting and property records show he physically resided outside Spokane City Council District 2.

They also pointed to a social media post from last November, where LeMasters said he was “back in Spokane for good.”

According to the Spokane city charter, candidates must be a resident of their city council district at least a year before filing for office. Filing for that office opened in May.

In a phone call Tuesday, LeMasters said the allegations were false and that he fit the eligibility requirements outlined in state law. He declined to comment beyond a prepared statement.

“I am both a qualified resident and voter within the district – RCW 77.08.075 defines what a resident is, and I fit," he said.

In a text Wednesday he also accused the lawyers Dillon and Winkes hired of tampering in Spokane’s election from western Washington.

The lawsuit is filed in Spokane County Superior Court. A judge will have to decide whether to strike LeMasters' name from the ballot. If the judge does strike his name, Wilkerson will be the only candidate on the ballot. She was appointed to fill a vacancy in 2019 and is running to retain the seat.