Filing for local elected officials closed last Friday (May 15) with at least one surprise that involved a previously declared candidate deciding not to run.
Methow Valley physician Ann Diamond, who sought the 12th Legislative District Position 1 in 2016 as an Independent candidate, losing to Republican Keith Goehner, had announced earlier this year that she would again run for the seat.
But when filing closed at the end of Friday, Diamond’s name was not among the official candidates. She had earlier suspended her campaign when the COVID-19 pandemic led to a statewide “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” directive from the governor’s office.
The position won’t go uncontested. Adrianne Moore of Winthrop filed as a Democrat to challenge Goehner. Only incumbent Mike Steele, a Republican, filed for the 12th District Position 2 seat. Incumbent District 12 Sen. Brad Hawkins is also unchallenged.
Both incumbent Okanogan County commissioners whose four-year terms will be up have filed for re-election and will face challengers.
District 2 Commissioner Andy Hover of Winthrop, elected in 2016, will face off against Katie Haven of Twisp. Hover is a declared Republican, Haven a Democrat. Incumbent District 1 Commissioner Chris Branch of Omak will be challenged by Shauna Beeman, also of Omak. Branch declares no party preference; Beeman declared as a Republican.
Neither of the incumbent Okanogan County Superior Court judges, Chris Culp (Position 2) and Henry “Hank” Rawson (Position 1), will face challengers for the nonpartisan positions.
Scott Verjaska of Omak, the incumbent Okanogan County Public Utility District commissioner for District 1, will be challenged by Brian Evans, also of Omak.
The 4th U.S. Congressional District race will feature a crowded primary. Incumbent Dan Newhouse, a Republican, faces five other candidates (the top two vote-getters in the primary will advance to the November general election): Ryan Cooper of Pasco (Libertarian); Tracy “Justice” Wright of Grand Coulee (Republican); Douglas E. Mckinley of Richland (Democrat); Evan Jones of Richland (Republican); and Sarena Sloot of Kennewick (Republican).
Earlier this week, Diamond communicated by email about her decision not to run. “Hyper-polarization makes an Independent run more difficult,” she said. “And then there is COVID-19. No knocking on doors, no meet-and-greets — both of which limit my ability to reach people who might not otherwise consider me … Social media will not sustain an independent campaign.”
“I don’t believe I can win as an Independent unable to meet people face-to-face, or as a doctor in this COVID-19 hyper-politicization of public health,” Diamond added. “I will find another way to tackle health care.”
Diamond owned the Country Clinic in Winthrop for 15 years. Earlier this year she volunteered to help with the COVID-19 outbreak at Confluence Health in Wenatchee.