Senate seat election draws candidate from outside 45th District

Ken Smith - Contributed photo

The race for the 45th District State Senate seat is garnering attention from community leaders who want to represent their fellow residents in Kirkland, Woodinville and Redmond. The special election is even peeking the interest of some who currently live outside the district boundaries.

Northshore School Board District Director Ken Smith, who currently lives in Kenmore, has announced that he will vacate his school board position to run for the seat.

“I currently reside in the 46th Legislative District, and on Thursday (March 23), I purchased a travel trailer that will become my new residence,” Smith announced in a release to the media and school district officials on March 27. “In the next two weeks, I will physically move to a location in the 45th state legislative district, which includes the thriving cities of Duvall, Kirkland, Redmond, Sammamish and Woodinville.”

The seat is currently held by Sen. Dino Rossi (R-Sammamish), who was chosen to fill the position following the death of Sen. Andy Hill last fall. Rossi said during the interview for the seat that he would not seek election to the seat in November.

Smith held position No. 2 of five seats on the school board, which represent a geographic region within the district. Smith won election to the seat in 2015 for a four-year term. The vacation of the school board seat would mean that someone would have to be appointed to the position and a special election would take place this year to elect a new district director.

“When I took the oath it was to defend the constitution and to serve the families and students of the Northshore School District,” Smith told the Reporter. “And I will continue to do so.”

Smith pointed out that parts of the Northshore School District are in the 45th District.

“I believe this is the best possible way I can continue to serve the students and parents of the district,” he said. “I believe my time and talent will most benefit the Northshore School District with my next level of advocacy.”

Smith said this is the first time has run for a partisan office. In 2013, Smith ran for the non-partisan Kenmore City Council and lost to long-time incumbent Allan Van Ness.

Smith said he would run for the senate seat as a “moderate Republican.”

“Throughout my public life, I have embraced non-partisan and independent ideals and elected positions,” Smith said in the release. “I am a champion of transparency and dialogue from all our public entities, and have not hesitated to ‘speak truth to power’ throughout my life.”

Senior Deputy King County Prosecutor Manka Dhingra is running as a Democrat, while Woodinville resident Parker Harris has declaired his candidacy and is running as an independent.

Dhingra, a Redmond resident and Democrat, is touted in her official release as an award-winning PTSA mom, anti-domestic-violence advocate and community leader; she is making her first run for political office.

Washington state filing week for elected position on the November general election ballot is May 15-19.