Tim Eyman, Jack Fagan, and Mike Fagan
Tim Eyman, Jack Fagan, and Mike Fagan at the turn-in event for Initiative 976 in Olympia (Photo: Andrew Villeneuve/Northwest Progressive Institute)

Long­time Tim Eyman asso­ciate Mike Fagan will be depart­ing the Spokane City Coun­cil at the end of this year after fail­ing to clinch a spot on the gen­er­al elec­tion bal­lot for Spokane City Coun­cil Pres­i­dent, ear­ly returns suggest.

As of the last count, there were 16,135 votes for Breean Beg­gs (35.84%), 13,785 votes for Cindy Wen­dle (30.62%), and 11,856 votes for Fagan (26.34%). Last place fin­ish­er Phillip Tyler has 3,067 votes, or 6.81%. Only the top two vote get­ters advance to the Novem­ber runoff, so Fagan’s cam­paign is at an end.

Fagan, fifty-nine, occa­sion­al­ly appears along­side Tim Eyman at press con­fer­ences with his father, Jack. The Fagans have been asso­ci­at­ed with Eyman for near­ly twen­ty years. Orig­i­nal­ly, they and Eyman were part of a quar­tet that also includ­ed Monte Ben­ham of the Tri-Cities in the ear­ly days of Eyman’s ini­tia­tive factory.

How­ev­er, Eyman and the Fagans part­ed com­pa­ny with Ben­ham in 2003; Ben­ham object­ed to their plans to con­tin­ue prof­it­ing from spon­sor­ing initiatives.

This is Fagan’s sec­ond loss as a can­di­date for Spokane City Council.

He also came up short in his first cam­paign ten years ago, at the same time Eyman was try­ing to bring destruc­tive Col­orado-style expen­di­ture lim­its to Wash­ing­ton State with Ini­tia­tive 1033 (which failed). How­ev­er, Fagan tried again two years lat­er. His 2011 bid for Dis­trict #1 was suc­cess­ful, and he secured reelec­tion in 2015.

Despite hav­ing become a local elect­ed offi­cial respon­si­ble for mak­ing cru­cial bud­get­ing deci­sions, Fagan has remained a zeal­ous pro­po­nent of gut­ting pub­lic ser­vices in Wash­ing­ton, putting him at odds with his Spokane City Coun­cil col­leagues as well as munic­i­pal lead­ers around the state.

The last time a destruc­tive tax-cut­ting Eyman mea­sure (cospon­sored by Fagan) appeared on the bal­lot, the Spokane City Coun­cil vot­ed to oppose it, over Fagan’s objec­tions. Fagan is cur­rent­ly the cospon­sor of Tim Eyman’s I‑976, which would rescind the vehi­cle fee that Spokane col­lects to fund basic street maintenance.

Beg­gs is a fel­low Spokane City Coun­cilmem­ber who rep­re­sents an adjoin­ing dis­trict, Dis­trict #2. Beg­gs is in the mid­dle of a term, so if he does­n’t win in Novem­ber, he would remain on the coun­cil. Fagan’s term expires at the end of this year, so as men­tioned, he will be off the Coun­cil in a few months.

Beg­gs is a long­time advo­cate for the disadvantaged.

“For more than twen­ty years he has effec­tive­ly pre­sent­ed caus­es and cas­es to juries, appel­late judges, arbi­tra­tors, medi­a­tors, com­mu­ni­ty groups and the media,” his biog­ra­phy states. “High­lights include sub­stan­tial police reform mea­sures in Spokane, Wash­ing­ton, in con­nec­tion with the death of a men­tal­ly dis­abled jan­i­tor; sub­stan­tial nation­al reform on oil pipeline safe­ty in con­nec­tion with the death of three chil­dren in the Olympic Pipeline Explo­sion, and mul­ti­ple jail reform and LFO issues in Spokane Coun­ty in con­nec­tion with class action lawsuits.”

For­mer bank man­ag­er Cindy Wen­dle looks like Beg­gs’ oppo­nent. Wen­dle edged out Fagan despite not hav­ing run for office before. She has proved to be adept at fundrais­ing. She has the endorse­ment of out­go­ing May­or David Con­don and Spokane Coun­ty Sher­iff Ozzie Kne­zovich, both con­ser­v­a­tive Republicans.

“For three years she helped lead the efforts of Wash­ing­ton Trust Bank to open branch­es in Pull­man, Moscow, and Lewis­ton,” Wendle’s cam­paign biog­ra­phy states.

“In 2015, Cindy was giv­en the oppor­tu­ni­ty to man­age the Spokane Main branch at Wash­ing­ton Trust Bank head­quar­ters. […] Since May of 2018, she has assist­ed with prop­er­ty man­age­ment issues and been a part of lease nego­ti­a­tions with their nation­al and local busi­ness ten­ants. Her goals are to pro­vide a first-class prop­er­ty to help busi­ness­es achieve their goals, and mar­ket Spokane to out of area retail­ers so they will open stores here and help invest in our economy.”

“In the months lead­ing up to the [Top Two elec­tion], Wen­dle sub­stan­tial­ly out­spent Beg­gs, by a near­ly 2‑to‑1 mar­gin,” not­ed the Spokesman-Review’s Kip Hill and Adam Han­ks in a report last week. “In addi­tion to the $57,591 Wendle’s cam­paign spent on the race direct­ly, she was the ben­e­fi­cia­ry of $80,679 in inde­pen­dent expen­di­tures made by polit­i­cal action com­mit­tees in sup­port of her can­di­da­cy. Beg­gs spent $33,633 on the race, Fagan $18,665, and Tyler $6,098.”

Cur­rent Spokane City Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Ben Stuckart is a can­di­date for May­or. He’s plac­ing sec­ond in the Top Two, behind ex-tele­vi­sion anchor Nadine Woodward.

Sev­en can­di­dates are vying for Fagan’s cur­rent coun­cil posi­tion. The lead­ers are Tim Benn (with 25.99% of the vote) and Michael Cath­cart (with 23.3%). They appear set to advance. Doug Salter, Jer­rall Haynes, Nagh­mana Sher­azi, Krys Brown, and Louis Lefeb­vre will not be join­ing them on the Novem­ber ballot.

Fagan’s suc­ces­sor is pret­ty much guar­an­teed to be some­one with a sim­i­lar far right wing polit­i­cal out­look, as both Benn and Cath­cart are Republicans.

Benn has the sup­port of hard­core mil­i­tant extrem­ist Matt Shea, while Cath­cart is an asso­ciate of U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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