Probst still deciding whether to challenge Benton for state Senate seat

State Rep. Tim Probst, D-Vancouver, said on Thursday that he will continue to consider over the weekend whether to run for the 17th District state Senate seat currently held by Don Benton, R-Vancouver.

When questioned about it on Tuesday by The Columbian, Probst said that running against Benton was a possibility, but he needed to talk it over with his family before making a decision.

He is considering whether moving to the Senate would help him be more successful in passing reforms to improve the state‚Äôs economy in the long run. He also noted that at the end of the year, the Senate is expected to lose a couple of lawmakers who have focused on higher education — a niche Probst has been carving for himself in the House.

Probst began serving in the Washington state House of Representatives in 2008. Before that, he worked as CEO of the Washington Workforce Association, a group created to represent the state’s many workforce development councils.

Benton was elected to the Washington state Senate in 1996 after serving two years in the House. Benton has said that he will seek re-election this year.

If Probst remains in the race to keep his House seat, he faces competition from Republicans Mike Appel and Julie Olson, who have both announced their bid to run against him.

Olson is chairwoman of the Ridgefield School Board and Appel works as a purchasing agent at Service Partner Supply, an insulation and exterior finishes distributor.

Stevie Mathieu: 360-735-4523 or stevie.mathieu@columbian.com or www.facebook.com/reportermathieu or www.twitter.com/col_politics

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