Republican Pastor Mark Hamilton, who was essentially called a liar by one of his church members, was thrown off the ballot and found ineligible to run for Spokane City Council in 2013. Why? Because Carol McGirk and Cathy Gunderson filed a complaint with Superior Court that Hamilton was not eligible to run for office.
Mark Hamilton’s Legal Problems
They claimed he was not a resident of the City Ward for which he filed to run. Hamilton insisted that the house at 217 E. Pacific was his primary residence for the last year prior to filing for office. However, testimony from a handyman that Mark Hamilton employed, utility bills, and other documents called that into question. As reported in the Spokesman Review, Judge Ellen Kalama Clark ruled in favor of the complainants and against Hamilton.
A Superior Court judge ruled that Hamilton failed to meet residency requirements for a Spokane City Council seat and prohibited his name from appearing on the general election ballot in November.
With the ruling, incumbent Councilwoman Amber Waldref is now unopposed in her re-election bid, the first time in 40 years a council candidate has not had an opponent. Her name will still appear on the ballot, in case a challenger mounts a write-in campaign as Hamilton hinted he might do as he left the courtroom.
The ruling by Judge Ellen Kalama Clark came after a half-hour of legal arguments and about 15 minutes of deliberation.
“Mr. Hamilton’s own evidence is contradictory,” Clark said. “He did not meet the burden of proof to show he met the residency requirement.”
Throughout his legal problems and attacks on his integrity, Pastor Mark Hamilton continued to campaign.
Despite significant questions about Hamilton’s candidacy, he has been able to raise sizable amounts of campaign cash. According to the state’s Public Disclosure Commission, he has spent $5,200 of the $8,300 he has raised.
Contributions have come from Spokane City Councilman Steve Salvatori, council candidate and former state legislator John Ahern, Spokane County Treasurer Rob Chase and former Supreme Court Justice Richard Sanders, among others.
Hamilton Still Defiant
Waldref who was happy with the decision said she will nevertheless continue to campaign. This is perhaps because Mark Hamilton has not yet given up.
Hamilton, who left the courtroom quickly after the decision, said he was considering continuing as a write-in candidate.
“A write-in campaign would probably work,” he said. “There are enough resources behind me. … I really believe I would win.”
Filed under: Local Candidates
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