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Joan McBride, the former mayor of Kirkland, will run against Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom as a Democrat in this year’s top-two primary election.

Democrats have said they plan to target Tom, D-Medina, because he crossed party lines last year to help give Republicans control of the state Senate.

Senate Democratic Leader Sharon Nelson on Monday confirmed McBride will run against Tom.

“I’m very pleased. She’s a former mayor of Kirkland and has a great reputation,” Nelson said in
a message.

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McBride has already filed with the state Public Disclosure Commission, which shows she’s raised about $14,000. Tom has raised nearly $100,000.

Neither McBride nor Tom could be reached immediately for comment, but in an interview earlier this year Tom said he plans to run again as a Democrat in the 2014 election.

“I’m happy to stand on my record. I know whoever runs against me, there’s going to be lots of money on both sides because it’s a balance point,” he said. “I think what we’ve done is what people in our district would want, focus on education, not go crazy with taxes, and be as in the middle as you can be.”

Senate Republicans now control the state Senate with a 26-to-23 majority that includes Tom and Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch.

State Republican Party officials have indicated they’re not focusing on Tom’s seat in the election but wouldn’t comment on what they’d do if a GOP candidate emerged to run against Tom.

The top two vote-getters in the Aug. 5 primary election, regardless of party, will advance to the Nov. 4 general election.

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