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Embattled Washington state Rep. Matt Shea didn't file for reelection

According to Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton, Matt Shea did not file as a candidate for his seat before the end of the filing deadline.

Rep. Matt Shea, who represents Spokane Valley and has been at the center of controversy multiple times in the past, did not file as a candidate for his seat before the filing deadline.

According to Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton, Shea didn't file by the 4:10 p.m. deadline on Friday. This means that he will not be on the ballot, and will have to run a write-in campaign if he seeks reelection.

Shea has represented Spokane Valley in the Washington State House of Representatives since 2008 and has subsequently been reelected four times.

While he hasn't filed to run for his seat again, he has filed to run for a spot as a Republican Precinct Captain, also known as a Precinct Committee Officer. This position usually helps political parties connect with people in neighborhoods through canvassing and other efforts.

Shea was formally stripped of his committee assignments and expelled from the House Republican Caucus after a private investigation released in December 2019 found that he had planned or engaged in an act of domestic terrorism against the United States

The domestic terrorism claims stemmed from Shea's involvement in the 2016 Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation, a 2015 armed conflict in Priest River and a 2014 armed standoff in Nevada.

Credit: KREM/Casey Decker

Since the report, many Republicans have pressured Shea to step down, although he has repeatedly proclaimed he would not. He continued public appearances, leading numerous protest rallies. His website still sports a "Re-Elect Matt Shea" logo.

Shea has also continued accepting donations, with public disclosure data listing reported contributions as recently as April 28. State law says that money can now be given to charity, to a political party, back to donors, or transferred to a new campaign account (such as his race for precinct captain, in theory) if each donor approves of the transfer.

Shea's decision also resulted in a shake-up of a number of other races.

District 4, Position 1

The most notable Democrat running for his seat is Lori Feagan, who has raised more than $40,000. Her campaign was initially built on tapping into statewide anti-Shea sentiment.

Now, she'll instead face Rep. Bob McCaslin. He actually currently holds position two in the same district, but decided to run for position one this time. McCaslin, although significantly less controversial and more mainstream than Shea, is deeply conservative and has endorsed some radical policies such as the "Liberty State" seccession of much of eastern Washington from the west. While the two positions do not differ in terms of power, McCaslin's switch means Feagan will be facing an effective incumbent with more establishment backing.

Mike Conrad and David Whitehead also filed for the seat.

District 4, Position 2

McCaslin's decision also leaves his current seat newly up for grabs.

Candidates for that seat include Leonard Christian, himself a former state representative in the same district. He briefly served in 2014 on an appointment basis.

His main Democratic opponent will be Lance Gurel, who recently lost a bid for Spokane Valley City Council.

He will also face a more right-wing opponent in Rob Chase, a former Spokane County Treasurer. Chase has defended some of Shea's controversial actions in the past, and recently promoted coronavirus conspiracy theories.

Rounding out the ballot are candidates Will DeWitt and Nathan R Sybrandy, according to filing documents.

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