Aberdeen attorney and former county prosecutor Mike Spencer announced Wednesday he intends to run for his old office.
“After having talked with judges, members of law enforcement, elected officials, attorneys and members of the community who I respect, I feel there is overwhelming support for my candidacy,” Spencer wrote in a press release. “As a result, I intend to file and run for the postion of Grays Harbor County Prosecuting Attorney.”
When then-Prosecutor Stew Menefee announced his retirement in September of last year, Spencer quickly announced his intent to seek the position, as did current interim Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Katie Svoboda.
Spencer was Menefee’s immediate predecessor, leaving the Prosecutor’s Office after six years to serve as a Superior Court judge, a position he also held for six years before entering private practice. He’s a senior partner at Brown, Lewis, Janhunen & Spencer with offices in Aberdeen and Montesano.
To fill the vacancy for the partisan position, county Democrats met in October to create a list of three candidates to submit to the County Commission. The process usually then goes to the commissioners, who chose one of the candidates to fill the office until the end of the current term, ending this year.
Instead, controversy erupted as Democrats were accused of intentionally excluding Spencer from the list in order to force the commissioners to select Svoboda, the party’s preferred candidate. Attorneys Vini Samuel and George Smylie rounded out the list, despite expressing no interest in the office.
Commissioners chose Samuel in spite of the party’s preference. Samuel declined the job in late November, and the dispute between the county and local party members has continued, settling in a stalemate after state officials declined to force the parties into a resolution.
Commissioners eventually appointed longtime deputy prosecutor Gerald Fuller to serve as interim prosecutor until the next election.