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Several Republicans leave elected office in Eastern Washington, making way for new conservatives

SPOKANE, Wash. – Pam Haley is running for state Sen. Mike Padden. Brandi Peetz is running for State Rep. Leonard Christian. Two Spokane city officials are running for U.S. Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ seat. It’s a new era for Republican politics in Eastern Washington.

With Padden, Christian and McMorris Rodgers choosing not to run for office, they are leaving a new generation of Republicans hungry for leadership opportunities to seek their positions. This became particularly clear this week with several new campaign announcements.

Several Republicans are running for Padden’s seat. Spokane Valley Mayor Pam Haley threw her hat in the ring this week alongside state Rep. Leonard Christian, according to The Spokesman Review. Spokane Valley City Council member Al Merkel and local businessman Mike Kelly are also running for the seat.

Even though Haley and Merkel are both Republicans on the city council, it’s clear there’s no love lost between the candidates. In an email to NonStop Local on Tuesday, Merkel questioned whether Haley was even a Republican while criticizing a Sprague Avenue construction project. Meanwhile, Merkel is barred from entering the Spokane Valley City Council building outside of council meeting hours and is under independent investigation for allegedly mistreating city staff.

Christian’s office also attracted several conservative candidates. Spokane Valley City Council member Brandi Peetz is running for the seat after serving two terms on the City Council. She’s touting her tax deregulation agenda as she enters the race. Rob Chase, who previously held Christian’s position until he was ousted by him in 2022, is also running for the seat according to The Spokesman.

McMorris Rodgers’ seat offers an opportunity for a new Republican to enter national politics. This week, candidates Spokane City Council member Jonathan Bingle and County Treasurer Michael Baumgartner both made public appearances touting their credentials for the role.

With several sought-after public offices vacant, Spokane County Republicans are seizing the opportunity to run without facing an incumbent. Regardless of the outcome of this election, it’s clear that a new slate of conservatives are making themselves known in Eastern Washington.

FOX28 Spokane©