Spokane Valley’s 4th Legislative District appears as if it will undergo yet another change this fall.
After the initial primary election ballots were counted Tuesday night, Leonard Christian – the Republican appointed by Spokane County commissioners to fill out the remainder of Larry Crouse’s term – was overwhelmed by fellow GOP challengers Bob McCaslin Jr. with nearly 44 percent of the vote and Diana Wilhite with just over 30 percent. Christian trailed with 24 percent.
Both McCaslin – the son of the late and longtime 4th District Sen. Bob McCaslin – and Wilhite, a former Spokane Valley mayor, will move on to the November general election.
In the other 4th District Legislative race incumbent Rep. Matt Shea – who already knew he would take on his challenger, Joe Arritola in November – led with 54 percent of the votes.
In other areas of the county, however, Republican incumbents are looking to weather strong Democratic challenges. In the county’s District 3, sitting Commissioner Al French is virtually neck-and-neck with Mary Lou Johnson with 36 percent of the vote apiece. French had a slight lead as of Wednesday morning, and Bonnie Mager – the Democratic commissioner French defeated four years ago, and who this time ran as an independent candidate – will not be a general election choice in November as she finished in third place with 27 percent.
Liberty Lake’s Rob Chase, the incumbent county treasurer, is also in a tight race with former Spokane Valley City Council hopeful Amy Biviano, a Democrat. Chase had a slight edge on Biviano earlier this week at just over 39 percent. Chase’s fellow Republican Mary Kuney had 21 percent and will not be back in November.
Republican Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich will go into the general election with a strong following, as he overwhelmed his same-party challenger Doug Orr, who had 27 percent of the vote.
Meanwhile, in the congressional 5th District, incumbent Cathy McMorris Rodgers cruised over her three challengers. Ultimately, the Republican – who holds a strong leadership position in the House of Representatives – will go against Democrat Joe Pakootas in the fall general election.
Finally, Spokane County Fire District 9 – which serves the area north of Spokane Valley – saw its replacement maintenance-and-operations levy pass with a strong 68 percent.
Voter turnout was just under 29 percent, according to the Spokane County Elections Office. With more ballots remaining to be counted, the election will not become certified until Aug. 19.