OLYMPIA — The newest Republican state senator will be facing a challenger from his own party in this year’s elections.
Elizabeth Scott, a former two-term state representative from Monroe, has launched a campaign against newly appointed Sen. Keith Wagoner, R-Sedro-Woolley, in the 39th Legislative District.
She made the announcement last week, pledging to be “a courageous, accurate, principled voice” for the residents of the district, a sprawling legislative territory encompassing portions of rural Snohomish and Skagit counties, and a sliver of King County.
In Snohomish County, the district includes the cities of Arlington, Monroe, Granite Falls, Sultan, Gold Bar, Darrington, and Index.
Scott, a recognized leader of the county’s tea party movement, served four years in the state House representing the 39th District. She was first elected in 2012 and re-elected in 2014 with nearly 63 percent of the vote.
In a statement, she said she devoted her time in office to “working toward smaller, smarter government while focused on jobs, schools, and fiscal responsibility.”
“My solid track record shows I kept my promises to help government live within its means, working on bills to streamline government, decrease the burden on taxpayers and small businesses, and protect the vulnerable, as well as bills to defend and restore protections of our natural rights including life, liberty, property, the right to keep and bear arms, and privacy,” she said.
In 2016, she decided to run for Congress rather than seek a third state term. But she contracted whooping cough in the spring and ended her congressional campaign in May 2016.
In the past year she’s made a persistent effort to return to the Legislature.
When Republican John Koster resigned from the state House last summer, she sought the appointment to fill the vacancy.
Republican precinct committee officers nominated three people for the seat and Scott was their top choice. But elected leaders of Snohomish, Skagit and King counties passed her over in favor of the officers’ third choice, Carolyn Eslick.
Then, in the fall, Republican Kirk Pearson left the state Senate to take a job with the administration of Donald Trump.
Scott sought the seat but Wagoner — who was the officers’ first choice — got the appointment instead. It will last through the November elections.
Wagoner said he assured Republican precinct officers and the county leaders he would run to keep the seat.
“I keep my promises,” he said. “But for now, I am focused on doing the best job I can do for my constituents during the short session.”
As of Friday, no Democrat had announced their candidacy for the seat.
The primary will be held Aug. 7. If Scott and Wagoner are the only two candidates, both will advance to the Nov. 6 general election.