No change in the Spokane area's legislative roster, except in the Fourth District
Suzanne Schmidt and perhaps Leonard Christian will be Spokane's new faces in Olympia.
Spokane’s legislative delegation won’t change much heading into the 2023 session. But at least one and maybe two seats in Spokane Valley will change hands.
When Republican Rep. Bob McCaslin opted to challenge Vicky Dalton for the county auditor’s job, it opened up a seat in the Fourth District, which covers Spokane Valley north to Mount Spokane. Republican Suzanne Schmidt is far ahead of Democrat Ted Cummings in that race. Schmidt is the president and CEO of the Spokane chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors.
The other seat features an incumbent, Republican Rob Chase, who promotes election fraud and Qanon theories.
Chase, who replaced far right legislator Matt Shea in Olympia two years ago, trails fellow Republican Leonard Christian.
Chase is more low key about his beliefs than Shea. He supports eastern Washington seceding from the state, a crusade promoted by Spokane Valley legislators for decades.
Christian, who served a year as a replacement legislator in 2014, referred to Chase’s beliefs in his campaign ads.
“I’m Leonard Christian and I accomplished more in two months than my opponent has in two years. I didn’t waste my time and your money on bills that would divide our state because we have serious issues. Crime, inflation, homelessness and school safety are real issues affecting a Washington family," he said.
Christian holds a slim lead over Chase, more than three percentage points, with thousands more yet to be counted.
There's little change in other Spokane area legislative districts. Longtime Democratic incumbents Timm Ormsby and Marcus Riccelli are easily defeating Republican challengers Natalie Poulson and Scotty Nicol in the Third District. In the Sixth District, Republican Rep. Jenny Graham has a big margin in her race against Democrat Michaela Kelso and fellow Republicans Mike Volz (House) and Jeff Holy (Senate) were each unopposed.
In the Seventh District, Republicans Shelly Short (Senate) and Joel Kretz (House) were both unopposed and Rep. Jacquelin Maycumber is winning in a romp over fellow Republican Lonny Ray Williams.
In the Ninth District, Republicans Mary Dye and Joe Schmick each were unopposed in their bids for re-election.