Reps. McCoy, Sells express interest in vacant Senate seat

A successor for former state Sen. Nick Harper of Everett could be known by Thanksgiving, and Democratic state Reps. John McCoy of Tulalip and Mike Sells of Everett are both seeking the position.

Democrats in the 38th Legislative District will meet Nov. 26 to nominate three people for the seat which opened up when Harper unexpectedly quit Saturday. He announced his resignation following the Legislature’s special session.

Under party rules, the district’s 28 elected and appointed precinct committee officers are eligible to vote. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Everett Labor Temple.

Names of the top three candidates receiving votes will be forwarded to the Snohomish County Council, which will choose one of them to take Harper’s place.

The County Council could make its decision the very next day — which is the eve of Thanksgiving. Council Chairwoman Stephanie Wright said if it can’t be done that quickly, it will happen the following week.

Harper resigned Saturday with a year left in his term, saying he needed to give up the job he won in 2010 in order to spend more time with his wife and two young children.

His successor will serve in next year’s legislative session and would have run for a full-term in 2014.

Candidates for the appointment are starting to surface.

McCoy, the retired general manager of Quil Ceda Village, was first elected to the House in 2002. Sells, the secretary-treasurer of the Snohomish County Labor Council, was first elected to the House in 2004.

Kelly Wright, who worked for former state Rep. Liz Loomis and ran for Marysville mayor in 2011, said Monday he would put his name in, too. But he said he intended only to be a caretaker of the seat through the next session and would not run for a full term afterward.

If Sells or McCoy is selected for the Senate, a similar process will be conducted to fill the vacant House seat.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@heraldnet.com.

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