Breaking down the unusual race of Hammond v. Manweller
KITTITAS COUNTY, Wash.- On your ballots, the 13th legislative district has Sylvia Hammond running against the incumbent Matt Manweller.
But after multiple accusations of sexual harassment, Manweller said he’s not going to serve his term if he wins.
There’s nothing legally holding him to that commitment, but GOP leaders expect him to step down as promised.
“He's an honorable man no matter what anybody says. He said he will and he will step down,” Kittitas County Republican Chairman Marlene Pfeifer said.
His opponent, Hammond, isn’t convinced. She said she’s still running against Manweller as far as she’s concerned.
“Should he win, he could still choose to say I won this election, and I’m going to sit in this seat. So that option is there,” she said.
So who would take Manweller’s spot if he were to win?
Republican party leaders narrowed down their list to three potential appointees.
“We did that mainly to give voters an assurance that we would put forward at least three good names and so they would know who they've voting for,” Pfeifer said.
Their top choice Danny Stone. He’s the former chair of the Grant County Republican Party.
Next is Alex Ybarra, the former president of the Quincy school board.
Rounding out this list is Ian Elliott, a former state representative.
But you, the voter, wouldn’t be able to choose which one of the three would fill the seat.
It would be up to the Yakima, Kittitas, Grant and Lincoln County commissioners.
And they can vote for any one of the three. Not just the preferred choice.
“They do not have to honor our selection or the ranking order,” Pfeifer said.
Hammond said it’s a disservice to voters in the district because they can’t vote for a specific candidate.
She said anyone who votes for Manweller can only hope they choose the person you want.
“You have possible people, who will be appointed, that have never gone through the campaign process. Which believe me is rigorous,” she said.
Hammond is a former farmer and teacher.
Which falls in line with what issues she wants to tackle in the 13th district. She said agriculture and education will be the main focuses if elected into office.
Especially after the McCleary decision for public education.
It freed up millions of dollars for districts across the state, but Hammond said it can cause problems long term if something isn’t done.
“That funding formula needs to be redone and that's going to be very serious this next session, so it's huge,” she said,
The ballot has Hammond v. Manweller, but it could end up as Hammond v. Stone, Ybarra or Elliot.