After a bit of “flash mob” drama and a venue switch, the Spokane County 4th Legislative District Precinct Committee met to come up with some names as possible replacements for Sen. Bob McCaslin in Olympia.
Not surprisingly, Rep. Matt Shea – who had the backing of the Spokane County Republican Party and Gonzaga College Republicans, among others – got the No. 1 nod.
Jeff Baxter – a businessman who ran an active write-in campaign for a spot on the West Valley school board in 2009 – was selected as the committee’s second choice, followed by Army veteran and GOP supporter and district leader Roy Murry.
The names now go to Spokane County commissioners, who will make the final appointment. They are not bound to take the committee’s first choice, but must choose among the three, and the seat will become open for election next fall.
Saturday’s gathering of committee members was originally supposed to be held at New Life Assembly Church but was abruptly moved to the Luxury Box at University City after reports that a “flash mob for liberty” – an assembly by Spokane Patriots Minutemen activists – would be demonstrating support for Shea outside.
According to Matthew Pederson, chairman of the Spokane County Republican Party, the demonstration never materialized.
“They called it off,” Pederson said of the Spokane Patriots. “Everything went fine.”
Only eligible elected or appointed 4th District Legislative Republican Precinct Committee Officers (PCOs) were eligible to vote. According to Pederson, 70 PCOs voted on Saturday and almost overwhelmingly for Shea.
“The 4th District is a very strong, conservative district,” Pederson said. “They have strong grassroots support.”
The election was conducted in accordance with Article II, Section 15 of the Constitution of the state of Washington, the bylaws of the Spokane County Republican Central Committee, the Revised Code of Washington, and the rules for the Nomination of Republican Candidates adopted by the Washington State Republican Central Committee.
Should the commissioners appoint Shea, the process will have to begin again to fill his post in the state House of Representatives.
Pederson said he hopes the commissioners make their selection soon but realizes it may not be the PCOs’ first choice in Shea.
“The commissioners have their job to do,” Pederson said. “Based on (Saturday’s vote), the PCOs have spoken.”
The commissioners on Tuesday said they plan to make a decision by March 4. Public comments will be accepted through Feb. 2 and may be sent to email@example.com or mailed to Daniela Erickson, clerk of the board, 1116 W. Broadway Ave., Spokane, WA 99260.