County Commissioner District 4: In an all-Republican race, newcomers echo 2020 with calls for “election integrity”

click to enlarge FROM LEFT: Mary Kuney, Chris McIntosh and Paul Brian Noble

FROM LEFT: Mary Kuney, Chris McIntosh and Paul Brian Noble

The Spokane County Commission’s newly created District 4 is largely rural and conservative. It covers Liberty Lake and the southeastern part of the county.

Here’s where it gets complicated: District 4 encompasses a lot of what used to be District 2, which means Mary Kuney, the current commissioner for District 2, is basically the incumbent in the District 4 race. (Kuney has been trying to alleviate voter’s confusion by bringing a copy of the new map to speeches — there’s still a lot of questions, she says.)


Under the old boundaries, parts of the city of Spokane and Spokane Valley were included in Kuney’s district. The new boundaries move those urban — more progressive — voters to a different district.

While Kuney acknowledges that the voter base she’s now competing for is likely more conservative than the one that elected her in 2020, the former auditor says she isn’t worried about the challenge from the right.

“I think my background and my skills and my experience stand on their own,” Kuney says. “Am I conservative? Yes. Do I support business? Yes. Do I care about people? Yes.”

Kuney has endorsements from a number of prominent Republicans, including Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward and Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich. She also received $1,000 from Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ campaign fund.

Public safety is Kuney’s biggest priority this election. Recruiting deputies is an ongoing challenge, so Kuney says she’s been working to make sure salaries are competitive.

As a commissioner, Kuney says she’s particularly proud of her work supporting new trailheads and the planned Doris Morrison Learning Center.


Real estate investor Chris McIntosh lists three main campaign priorities: property rights, law and order/public safety, and election integrity.

McIntosh says “no” when asked if he thinks Joe Biden won the 2020 election fairly. He asks if the Inlander has seen 2,000 Mules, a 2022 film that relies on faulty interpretations of cellphone GPS data to make claims of widespread ballot tampering by a shadowy group of left-wing operatives. The film’s outlandish allegations — only streamable for $19.99 — have been widely debunked by numerous fact-checking organizations.

“It’s an eye opener to how corrupt our systems are,” McIntosh says.

McIntosh isn’t necessarily saying anything improper happened in Spokane County, but he wants to make sure. “Trust but verify,” he says, quoting Ronald Regan.

McIntosh’s campaign website says in bold text that it’s time to “take our community back.” Asked from whom, McIntosh says the homeless situation. He’s OK with the county supporting homeless people who “want to get out of the situation” but thinks people who “continue in the life of drug use and crime” need to be held accountable. A safety net just traps people, he says. He’d rather the system function as more of a safety ladder.

McIntosh says his experience in real estate gives him the experience needed to address the budget and housing issues facing Spokane County. He’s fiscally conservative and says he would try to reduce taxpayer spending wherever possible.


Paul Brian Noble has been a preacher for 25 years. He is currently CEO of Peacemaker Ministries and a pastor at Valley Assembly of God. He says it has given him experience mediating conflicts that will be useful as commissioner. His slogan — “No Bull From Noble” — is indicative of the way he approaches disagreements with honesty and compassion, he says.

Noble is focused on public safety and wants to tackle overregulation to help make housing more affordable. Like McIntosh, Noble is opposed to how the county handled mask and vaccine mandates, and nonessential business closures.

Noble is staunchly against abortion. He was listed as a speaker on a poster for a June anti-abortion rally headlined by former Rep. Matt Shea, but Noble says he was out of town at the time and isn’t sure how his name ended up on the list. He’s met Shea a couple of times and had coffee with him once, but Noble says he doesn’t know him very well.

Noble’s stance on the 2020 election is a bit more reserved than McIntosh’s (“I really don’t know, I’ve heard both sides of it,” he says when asked if Joe Biden won the 2020 election fairly); but like McIntosh, he has questions.

In June, the Spokane Republican Party’s Election Integrity Committee met with the commissioners to ask for a comprehensive audit of its election system. During the meeting, the commissioners’ attorney explained that the commissioners don’t have the legal authority to do what the committee requested.

Noble and McIntosh bring up the meeting as an example of something they would handle differently as commissioner. They don’t like how the commissioners deferred to their attorney, and they say they would take more concrete action toward election transparency.

Kuney — who acknowledges that numerous lawsuits failed to find evidence of widespread voter fraud in 2020 — stresses that the commissioners don’t have the authority to do the audit requested of them. She cares about election integrity too, she says, and points to Washington’s numerous safeguards as evidence that the system is working. ♦

Article Source: Inlander