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Saturday, January 8, 1994 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Conservative Ray Schow Tapped To Fill 30Th District Senate Seat -- Republican Les Thomas Chosen For Vance's House Position

TACOMA - Federal Way printery owner Ray Schow, a conservative who vows to improve the lot of small-business owners, was selected to fill the 30th District state Senate seat vacated by Peter von Reichbauer.

Von Reichbauer was elected to the Metropolitan King County Council in November.

The decision was made jointly by the King and Pierce county councils yesterday.

The councils selected Les Thomas, a former 31st District Republican chairman, to fill the seat of Rep. Chris Vance, who also was elected to the King County Council.

Schow's selection ended a week of political machinations, in which the district and the state Republican organizations disagreed on who should fill von Reichbauer's seat.

Monday, local Republicans picked Federal Way City Councilman Ray Tomlinson as their first choice and Schow second.

But Tuesday, the state Republican organization picked Schow first, law student Jim Ferrell second, and Tomlinson third.

The door was opened for Schow yesterday morning when Tomlinson told both councils he was dropping out of consideration. Tomlinson said he wanted to spare the party from a divisive vote. Von Reichbauer said he urged Tomlinson to drop out for the sake of party unity.

Council members said Schow had three things going for him:

-- Long ties to the community and Republican campaigns.

-- Party bylaws that say the state party recommendation is paramount.

-- Tomlinson's brush with the law two years ago.

Tomlinson was charged with obstructing justice and pointing a gun at a police officer in February 1992. He maintained his innocence and was eventually exonerated.

But council members said they had planned to question him intensively about the incident and worried that Democrats could use it against him when the seat is up for election this November.

Copyright (c) 1994 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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