Rep. Larry Haler could be one of the next moving pieces in the Tri-Cities' political puzzle.
The Richland Republican said he would be likely to throw his name into the hat for Jerome Delvin's seat in the state Senate if Delvin is elected Benton County commissioner in November.
"I can't say categorically," Haler told the Herald. "It would be something I'd give consideration to."
Delvin on Tuesday announced his bid for the county commission seat being vacated by longtime Commissioner Leo Bowman just moments after Bowman said he has decided not to seek re-election this year.
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Delvin told the Herald he will keep his Senate job until after the election.
Retired Benton County Sheriff Larry Taylor and Richland School Board President Rick Jansons also have said they will run for Bowman's spot on the county commission.
David Ammons, spokesman for the Secretary of State's Office, said there technically is nothing that requires Delvin to give up his Senate seat even if elected county commissioner. Democrat Tim Sheldon, for example, is a state senator and a Mason County commissioner.
But Delvin said Tuesday that he is looking forward to settling in at home after 18 years in Olympia.
Delvin was re-elected in 2010, meaning he has two years left in his current four-year term. If he wins the Benton County position and resigns from the Senate, local Republican precinct officers would evaluate potential replacements and send three names to the county commissioners in the 8th Legislative District.
Because the 8th District covers only a portion of Benton County, those three commissioners would select a replacement for Delvin.
Ammons said if Delvin already has been sworn in as a commissioner when his replacement is appointed, there is no prohibition against him voting for his own replacement.
Whoever is appointed would have to run for election in 2013, Ammons said.
Haler said until Delvin steps down, he will continue his campaign for re-election to his seat in the state House this fall.
"I only work on one election at a time," he said. "I enjoy being a state representative."
But if the opportunity arises, he believes he would make a good choice for the Senate.
"It's going to be an interesting year," he added.