SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane will elect a new mayor in 2019, as incumbent David Condon cannot run for reelection due to term limits.
The field for the race has already begun to take shape, as six candidates have officially thrown their name in the hat as of April 2, 2019. Filing week, when candidates official file with the elections office, takes place in May.
The primary election takes place on Aug. 6, 2019, which will narrow the field down to two candidates. The general election will take place Nov. 5, 2019.
The office of mayor in Spokane is a nonpartisan position.
The following list of mayoral candidates is in alphabetical order by last name.
Clarification: A previous version of this story said Bingle was a pilot in the Air Force. He has since clarified that he was not in the Air Force but was working toward the Air Force while in college.
Background & Education
Jonathan Bingle was born in Spokane and graduated from Rogers High School. He attended Spokane Falls Community College before leaving to start Bingle Enterprises Inc.
He served as a pastor at the Genesis Church in North Spokane.
Bingle lists economic growth, homelessness, criminal justice and ending tax increases as his platform pillars.
Bingle says he would want to help prevent “unnecessary tax increases” on residents and small businesses in Spokane. He also wants to find ways to save money on city projects and “end wasteful spending” of tax dollars.
Bingle says the Spokane economy has momentum it can use to grow, and that he would want to continue making the area more attractive to businesses.
He says the continuing growth of the economy will provide higher paying jobs for the community and higher tax revenue.
Bingle says he sees the homeless population as being made up of three groups: "the hard timers," "the sick" and "the anti-social."
The “hard timers” group he sees as people who have come across difficulties forcing them into homelessness, and he says this group can receive help from charity groups in the city.
For the “sick” group, which are those battling drug addiction and mental illness, he said he would work to provide services to help with medication and treatment.
The “anti-social” group contains people who don’t seek or refuse help, and Bingle says this group needs to be held accountable.
The main focus for Bingle when it comes to criminal justice is helping reintegrate offenders into society after they have served their sentence. He also wants to address overcrowding in the Spokane County Jail.
Background & Education
Kelly Cruz is a lifelong Spokane resident. He is the current chairman of Spokane C.O.P.S, a crime prevention non-profit. He was formerly a four-time chairman of both the West Central Neighborhood Council and West Spokane Wellness Partnership, according to his website.
Cruz has received the Citizenship Award for Outstanding Volunteer Leadership twice, according to his website. The award is given the City of Spokane. He also is a board member for Our Place, working on community outreach, his website said.
Cruz lists three main pillars for his platform: homelessness, road infrastructure and property crime.
Cruz said Spokane's homelessness crisis is too complex of an issue to define in a single word.
One main factor, according to Cruz, is economic factors. He said that factors such as loss of jobs, a cutback in hours and other outside issues can cause homelessness when paired with Spokane's housing shortage. Cruz said it is the city government's responsibility to help find solutions.
Addiction issues is another reason Cruz lists as causing homelessness. He said that addiction issues are keeping people out of work, and that the City's approach of providing temporary shelter and food doesn't address the underlying issues. His campaign calls for the government to help provide addiction programs.
The third major aspect of homelessness Cruz lists is mental illness. Cruz proposes opening treatment centers for those struggling with mental illness.
Cruz has made a common gripe among Spokane residents a main part of his campaign platform; potholes.
Cruz said on his website that too many roads in the county are in subpar condition and that "millions of dollars dedicated annually to repairing our roads" have not been successful so far.
Cruz wants to focus on property crime as part of his campaign. He said that the community has become "frustrated with the system to the point that they are not reporting crime, which leads to a false sense of security."
He said that drug trafficking is the main driving force for crime in Spokane.
Background & Education
Shawn Poole was born and raised in Spokane and graduated from Shadle Park High School and the University of Montana, where he studied sociology and criminal justice.
After getting his degree, he served in the U.S. Army during Desert Storm, joining in 1987 and leaving active duty for the reserves in 1992 to start a career with the Spokane Fire Department. While in the reserves, he was mobilized and deployed twice, once from March 2007 to March 2008 and again from October 2008 to November 2009.
Poole lists the four main pillars of his campaign as infrastructure, public safety, homelessness and “waste, fraud and abuse in the city.”
Streets represent the main infrastructure focus for Poole, who calls the repair of potholes and general street maintenance a top priority, according to his campaign website.
Poole wants to add more uniformed police officers to city streets and build a dedicated property crimes division within the force. He plans on increasing police resources by cutting funding from other areas, including city hall and other departments. He also wants to cut funding from city hall to provide more resources for the fire department.
Poole takes a somewhat different approach on homelessness than other candidates. He splits the issue into two groups — homeless residents who have fallen on hard times, and transients — the latter of which he says have “very little respect for anything in their community.”
For those he considers to be a part of the homeless resident group, Poole says he wants to increase access to drug and alcohol treatment programs and screening.
As mentioned in most of his campaign ideas, he wants to cut a large chunk of spending from city government by stopping the use of things like city-owned vehicles, electronics, gas payments and other areas he sees as “negligent spending.” If elected, these officials would only spend on things seen as an “absolute necessity.”
KREM's Casey Decker asked Poole about his campaign during a five-part series of extended interviews with the mayoral candidates. More information on Shawn Poole’s campaign can be found on his official website.
Background & Education
Ben Stuckart has served as the Spokane City Council President for six years.
He graduated from Gonzaga University before working in the ticketing industry, spending time with the Oakland Raiders and TicketsWest, as well as working for the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Before going into politics, Stuckart also began the Communities in Schools of Spokane County nonprofit, which helps students in need in area schools.
Stuckart is focusing on areas such as economic growth, homelessness, criminal justice reform and city government reform.
On criminal justice and public safety reform, Stuckart wants to give more power to the Office of the Police Ombudsman, which provides oversight into city policing. He also wants to consider giving ambulance responsibilities back to the Spokane Fire Department.
Another criminal justice stance he is taking on his website states that he will “resist federal efforts to unconstitutionally preempt local law,” likely a reference to the lack of enforcement of a city ordinance that prevents federal law enforcement agencies, like Border Patrol agents, from boarding buses in the city without a warrant.
Stuckart says he plans on investing more resources in job training and employment programs for residents to fight poverty.
He also wants to partner with business improvement districts and the neighborhood business associations to help local businesses, as well as take a more long-term approach to city planning.
Stuckart said he wants to "decriminalize homelessness" and work to increase low income housing opportunities in the city. To increase these housing opportunities, he plans on establishing a housing fund and offering incentives for landlords to invest in low income housing.
City Government Reform
If elected, Stuckart said his administration would establish an Office of Civil Rights and Labor Standards, which would help enforce non-discrimination laws and look to advance civil rights.
He would also like to partner with the Spokane Civil Service Commission to "increase racial and gender diversity" in government.
KREM's Casey Decker asked Stuckart about his campaign during a five-part series of extended interviews with the mayoral candidates. For more on his platform, you can visit Ben Stuckart’s official campaign website.
Background & Education
The former KREM and KXLY anchor recently retired from broadcasting after a career that spanned over two decades.
Woodward, who ended her run at KXLY on Feb. 28, announced on April 2 that she would be running for mayor during a press conference at Riverfront Park. Fellow former KREM anchor Charles Rowe also spoke at the conference.
Woodward said in her announcement speech that she wants to work to "bring back government to the people," and that Spokane's problems are unique.
"We are not California, we are not Seattle, we are Spokane and we are proud of it," she said. "We will not only define, but we will solve our own issues."
She spoke about helping the homeless, sick and poor, attracting businesses, increasing safety and dealing with ethics issues.
Helping Homeless, Sick and Poor
Woodward, like many of the other candidates, spoke about helping the homeless as well as those suffering from addiction and poverty.
"I think If there is one thing I would like to see Spokane do, is to make it a lot harder to be chronically homeless, and a lot easier to find help for your addiction," she said.
She also spoke about claims that Spokane is facing homelessness and drug addiction problems on the same scale as Seattle following a KOMO special called "Seattle is Dying," that many in Spokane, including Woodward, talked about on social media in the past weeks.
Woodward clarified that she wasn't saying Spokane was Seattle, but that Spokane could end up with problems on the same level as the Emerald City if changes aren't made.
"We're not Seattle, but we need to get a handle on the situation before we become a Seattle," she said.
Attracting Businesses and Jobs
Woodward said she wants to attract more businesses and jobs to the area.
On her campaign site, she said "Spokane needs great-paying jobs and opportunities."
She went on to add Spokane "can and must protect workers without discouraging the creation of new and better jobs."
She wants to the city to attract start ups and new small businesses.
Woodward said in her campaign announcement that auto theft is too high in the city and that we need "a vibrant and safe downtown and neighborhoods."
"Property crime and auto theft has been unacceptably high for too long," she said.
On her campaign website, Woodward said that "public safety should be the top priority of our city government."
She wants to put more police officers on patrols and dedicate more resources to investigate property crime in the city.
Ethics and Bullying
A major theme of Woodward's announcement speech and campaign platform deals with what she calls "bullying in City Hall."
"City Hall has been bogged down with bickering and charges of employee bullying," she said.
Woodward also wants to take a look at ethics and employment standards to protect employees, especially female employees, from bullying.
KREM's Casey Decker asked Woodward about her campaign during a five-part series of extended interviews with the mayoral candidates. For more on Woodward's campaign, visit her campaign website by clicking here.
The following are candidates who had declared for the race, but have since dropped out or discontinued their campaigns.
Andy Rathbun, a U.S. Air Force and Washington Air Guard Veteran, had initially campaigned to become Spokane's next mayor, but announced in a press release on April 24 that he would be dropping out of the mayoral race to run for the District 3 seat on the Spokane City Council.
While running for mayor, he had cited public safety, economic development and homelessness as his main platform pillars.
Lemus said in a statement on May 13 that he had dropped out of the race the day before Stuckart announced his candidacy and was making it official with the Public Disclosure Commission that he would no longer be running for mayor.
Tedesco has since endorsed Stuckart for mayor and is listed as a donor to the Stuckart campaign on the PDC website.
Gahvarehchee told KREM on May 13 that he had dropped out of the race.
Chris Schroll announced that he was dropping out of the race on May 14 via a statement on Twitter. In the statement, Schroll said he did not have the institutional or financial support to compete in the race. He also cited the nearly $1,700 filing fee.
Jason Dixon filed for the mayoral race but told KREM on May 17 that he dropped out because he could not afford the $1,680 filing fee.
"As a single parent of 4 children, I am unable to afford this massive filing fee," he said in a statement to KREM.