Republicans choose three candidates, county commissioners make final decision
OLYMPIA – Seventh District Representatives Joel Kretz and Shelly Short say they won’t be vying for the Senate seat being vacated by Bob Morton the first of the new year.
After 22 years in the Washington State Senate, Morton said he would be calling it quits. It will now be up to the Republican precinct committee officers within the legislative district to chose three candidates. These will be put before the 15 county commissioners within the large rural district to pick Morton’s successor.
“Naturally they’re going to approach the two Republican representatives in the district to see if they want to stand for the job,” said Shelly Short, who announced Thursday afternoon she would not put her name up.
“Of course they asked Joel (Wauconda, Wash.) first as he is the senior representative, but he has already said he wants to remain where he’s at,” said Short “He told me if he was reelected to a leadership role he’d decline, and he was unanimously reelected to the leadership.
“So we’ll have a brand new person in that position.”
Short, from Addy, Wash., said she was being encouraged by several friends and colleagues to make the move, but she decided to stay in the House because she is the ranking Republican on the Environment Committee and Assistant ranking Republican on the Energy Committee. Short said she feels feels both committees are very important to the Seventh District.
“All the issues that I’ve been working on there are important to the district and it’s important to maintain the continuity,” she said. “I feel I am high enough up in the House to really make a difference on those issues and to set strategy.
“It was a hard decision, but If I were chosen to move to the Senate I would have to start again at the beginning.”
Since Sen. Morton is a Republican it will be up to the Republican precinct officers to chose three candidates to put before the commissioners from the five counties that make up the Seventh District.
“If he were a Democrat it would be the Democratic precinct officers making those choices,” Short said, adding that the precinct officers would be meeting in Colville, Wash. on Saturday, Dec. 15 to come up with their candidates to forward to the county commissioners.
Those 15 commissioners will ultimately make the final decision on who will fill Morton’s shoes.
“Obviously no one is going to be able to replace Bob, he is a tremendous individual and respected on both sides of the aisle,” said Short about her fellow legislator.
Morton retires with two years of his four-year term remaining. Whoever is chosen will have to decide for themselves whether to run in a special election that will be called next year to finish out the remaining year of Morton’s term. The person elected in the special election will then have to face another election in 2014 for a full four-year Senate term, according to Short.