EVERETT — A well-known Democratic Party figure could soon be returning to the state Legislature — at least temporarily.
John Lovick, ex-Snohomish County executive, sheriff and former state lawmaker, is one of three nominees to fill the state House seat vacated by Hans Dunshee when he joined the County Council.
Lovick received the most support of Democratic Party officers at a special meeting May 19. Also nominated were Kathy Christensen and Bill Trueit, both of Everett.
Their names have been given to the County Council, which will conduct interviews and consider making an appointment at a May 31 meeting.
Councilmembers are not obligated to pick the top choice of party officers, but Snohomish County Democratic Party Chairman Richard Wright is urging them to do so.
“I think they are very familiar with these candidates,” he said. “Barring anything outside of what we know about John Lovick, there is no reason not to appoint John Lovick.”
Dunshee, a Democrat, resigned April 18 from Position 1 in the 44th Legislative District, which encompasses the cities of Snohomish, Lake Stevens and Mill Creek.
State law dictates the person appointed to the seat be of the same political party. The appointee will serve until voters elect someone this November to serve the full two-year House term.
Democrats hold four of the five seats on the County Council. Two of them, Dunshee and Councilman Brian Sullivan, served with Lovick in the state Legislature. That bolsters his position as the favorite for the appointment.
The council’s decision could be a factor in the battle for control of the state House in this year’s elections.
Right now Democrats hold 50 of the 98 seats in the state House. Lose a seat and they will share power with Republicans; lose two seats and the GOP will be in charge for the first time since 1998.
Lovick has filed as a candidate. Garnering the appointment could give a slight boost to his candidacy by enabling him to run as the sitting representative and asking voters to retain him in the job.
His chief opponent is Republican Janice Huxford of Lake Stevens. She is receiving strong support from the party and as of Friday had raised more money than Lovick in the campaign.
The third candidate in the race is attorney Wilberforce Agyekum of Everett, who has chosen to run with no party preference.
Meanwhile, if the County Council does not make an appointment, it would fall to Gov. Jay Inslee to fill the seat.
That’s what occurred in 2014 when Mike Hope, a Republican, resigned his seat in the same 44th Legislative District.
Mark Harmsworth was the top choice of Republican Party officers. But, like Lovick, he also was in the midst of campaigning for the seat and the council’s four Democrats didn’t want to boost Harmsworth’s candidacy with the appointment.
They didn’t act and Inslee decided to appoint Doug Roulstone of Snohomish to hold the job until that year’s election.
Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; email@example.com
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