GOP picks candidates for Bailey Senate seat

A North Whidbey entrepreneurial farmer is the top choice to replace state Sen. Barbara Bailey.

Ron Muzzall topped the list of three candidates chosen by Republican precinct officers from the 10th Legislative District, which is comprised of Island County and portions of Skagit and Snohomish counties, according to Allen McPheeters, chairman of the Island County Republican Party.

Second on the list is Christine Cribb, executive director of the Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce, and third is Sara Hyatt, the president of Stanwood-based Hyatt Development Inc. and vice president of Hyatt Construction Inc.

Commissioners from the three counties will make the final decision on the appointment during a public meeting at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 18 at the Skagit County commissioners’ office.

Under state law, each county gets three votes in the appointment process, according to Island County Prosecutor Greg Banks. Since the boards in Island and Skagit counties have three commissioners, each commissioner gets one vote. But Snohomish County has five members on the board of commissioners, so they each get 3/5 of a vote.

Bailey, a Republican from Oak Harbor, resigned her office, which went into effect at the end of September. Under the state constitution, the state Republican Party is required to submit a list of three prioritized nominees to fill the vacancy.

Muzzall is the farm manager for 3 Sisters Cattle Company, the manager of 3 Sisters Family Farm and the owner of Muzzall Farms. He managed the farms’ transition from commodity agriculture to direct marketing, his resume states.

He’s no stranger to government either. He was an elected commissioner for North Whidbey Fire and Rescue for 11 years, a member of the county’s weed control board, an appointed member of the Agricultural Remand Committee — which dealt with the Growth Management Act — and a founding member of the Island County Farm Bureau.

Cribb said in August that she is leaving the chamber in hopes of replacing Bailey. She served as an elected school board member prior to working at the chamber.

Hyatt has 24 years of experience in the construction industry.

The Senate seat is up for grabs in the 2020 election.

Island County Commissioner Helen Price Johnson, a Democrat, already announced she will seek the position.

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