OLYMPIA — Keith Wagoner could wind up in the state Senate next week.
Georgene Faries, of Arlington, has a good shot at the same seat.
But Elizabeth Scott, well, not so much.
The three Republicans are vying for the seat Kirk Pearson vacated in November when he went to work for President Donald Trump.
Whoever is chosen will represent the 39th District, a sprawling legislative territory encompassing swaths of rural Snohomish and Skagit counties, and a sliver of King County.
Because the district spills into three counties, the elected council members and commissioners in all of them will have a say in who is appointed. The decision will be made in a special meeting set for 2:30 p.m. Wednesday in the chambers of the Snohomish County Council.
Wagoner, the mayor of Sedro-Woolley, is the preferred nominee of the district’s precinct committee officers. Scott, a former two-term state representative from Monroe, is their second choice, and Faries, a party activist from Arlington, was third.
Of the trio, Scott is the most experienced in state legislative matters but least likely to get the nod.
In September, the same collection of county leaders gathered to fill a vacant House seat in the 39th District. In that process, Scott had the most support of precinct officers with Faries ranked second. But Carolyn Eslick, the party’s third choice, got the gig.
Scott received votes but all five Snohomish County Councilmembers, including its two Republicans, backed Eslick.
Absent a major change in attitudes, the decision seems to be coming down to Wagoner or Faries.
Wagoner, a retired U.S. Navy commander, was elected mayor of Sedro-Woolley in 2015. Before that, he served five years on the City Council.
His experience in local elected office is going to be a plus as it was for Eslick, who had been Sultan’s mayor at the time of her selection.
Not coming from Snohomish County could work against him because it is the county where the largest chunk of the district’s population lives.
Thus, come Wednesday, whoever makes the motion for the appointment could be critical. As these appointment decisions don’t tend to stir much debate, the first name offered is typically the one chosen.
If the three Skagit County commissioners want Wagoner, one of them should maneuver to make the motion rather than count on someone else taking care of things. (A Snohomish County Democrat made the motion to appoint Eslick.)
Faries is president of the Evergreen Republican Women and vice chairwoman of the 39th District Republicans. If chosen, she would be serving in an elected office for the first time.
She made a strong impression on Snohomish County Councilmembers in her interview with them earlier this month. That’s crucial because the leader of the County Council will run the meeting and call on someone to make the motion for appointment.
Faries’ periodic posts on Facebook might give Democrats pause.
In August, following the deadly violence at a white supremacist rally and march in Charlottesville, VA, she wrote “Ku Klux Klan, ANTIFA and factions in Black Lives Matter are terrorist groups.” She pivoted in the rest of the post to mostly blast the political left, warning of a “demonic spirit from the pit of hell trying to take down our president and our country.”
In September, she wrote professional football players refusal to stand during the national anthem is more than a protest.
“It is a purposed deterioration of our American values, our patriotism, our National pride,” she wrote. “This is a dangerous moral showdown we’re having over the America we want to live in.”
Such passion could fuel a long political career for Faries. But she’ll need to get appointed first.
That decision will come next week.