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All county commissioner incumbents poised to move onto general election despite new districts

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Rebecca White/SPR
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In the first round of election results it appears that all incumbent county commissioners will move on to the general election despite new district lines.

Unlike past elections, candidates who move on from the primary in county commissioner races will also run only in their districts in the general election.

District 5

Maggie Yates had the lead in preliminary primary results with about 45% of votes. Incumbent Al French came in second with about 40% of votes.

French has been a county commissioner since 2011, and previously was a Spokane City Council member. He is an architect and a real estate investment consultant and is running for reelection in a newly drawn district. He’s running as a Republican and is endorsed by the outgoing sheriff, as well as sitting county commissioners.

Yates is the former law and justice administrator at the county, where she oversaw criminal justice reform and brought in several criminal justice grants. She is an attorney who previously worked at the Southern Poverty Law Center and other legal aid and justice organizations. She’s a first-time candidate running as a Democrat and is endorsed by Spokane City Council President Breean Beggs, as well as other prominent local Democrats and union organizations.

Don Harmon came in third with about 12% of votes. He is the former mayor of Airway Heights and has served on several boards and commissions in the region. He’s running as a Republican.

Tara Carter was in fourth in preliminary results and brought in about 3% of votes. She is a county employee in the clerk’s office. She’s first-time candidate who is running as an independent.

District 5 includes the entire West Plains, a corner of the city of Spokane’s South Hill, as well as rural Southwest Spokane County.

District 4

Incumbent Mary Kuney was leading election night with 57% of votes, far ahead of two challengers who are further to the right.

Kuney has served as a county commissioner since she was first appointed in 2017. Kuney is an accountant and is running as a Republican in a newly drawn, more rural district. She’s endorsed by outgoing sheriff Ozzie Knezovich as well as several sitting Republican state legislators.

Paul Brian Noble will likely face her in the general election, he came in second with about 27% of votes. He is a pastor in Spokane Valley, and is a chaplain. He’s written books on conflict resolution and is running to address overregulation, according to information he submitted to the county elections office.

Chris McIntosh is a real estate investor who is running as a Republican. He won about 13% of votes. He has publicly questioned the results of the 2020 election and says election integrity will be a focus if he is elected as a commissioner.

District 3

Josh Kerns was leading election night with 76% of votes.

Kerns has served as a county commissioner since 2016, and is seeking reelection in a newly redrawn district. He’s running as a Republican and owns a marketing business with his wife. He’s endorsed by outgoing county sheriff and prosecutor Larry Haskell according to his website.

His opponent, Wild Bill Schreiner, is a business owner who is running without a party affiliation. He told voters in the county voter’s guide that he is running to support law enforcement.

Spokane County Commissioner District 3 encompasses the rural northeast area covering the areas between Deer Park and Millwood.

District 2

In District 2, a newly created district, Democrat Amber Waldref led in the preliminary count with 56% of votes. Michael Cathcart came in second with about 33% of votes.

Waldref currently works at the Northeast Community Center directing a children and youth program. She previously served as a Spokane City Councilmember. She’s running as a Democrat and is endorsed by most of the current Spokane City Council members and has the support of several unions.

Cathcart currently serves as a Spokane City Councilman and previously was the director of pro-business group better Spokane and worked for the Spokane Homebuilders. He’s running as a Republican and is endorsed by several current county commissioner, such as Al French, as well as several Republican legislators.

Bob Apple came in third with nearly 9% of votes. He was also previously a Spokane City Council member, and is running as a Republican saying he’s concerned about taxes.

Glen Stockwell came in fourth with 2.5% of votes. He is a conservative activist who has run for office many times. He was appointed to the Ritzville city council in the 1980s.

District 2 covers East Spokane, covering Moran Prairie on the South hill to the Newport Highway Country homes area.

District 1

In District one, a brand-new district, Democrat Chris Jordan appears to be leading. He had 56% of votes in preliminary counts.

His opponent Kim Plese had 43.6% of votes.

Plese most recently owned a printing and marketing business, which she sold just before running for office. Plese is a Republican who has the endorsement of several sitting county commissioners, as well as the outgoing sheriff, according to her campaign website.

Both her, and Jordan are first time candidates.

Jordan is an attorney who currently works at the Washington Attorney General’s Office where he handles child safety cases. He’s running as a Democrat and has the endorsement of his current boss, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, as well as several prominent local Democrats including Representative Marcus Riccelli and Spokane City Councilwoman Betsy Wilkerson.

They are running to represent district one, which includes most of West Spokane ranging from the lower South Hill, to Whitworth.

Rebecca White is a 2018 graduate of Edward R Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University. She's been a reporter at Spokane Public Radio since February 2021. She got her start interning at her hometown paper The Dayton Chronicle and previously covered county government at The Spokesman-Review.