The Senate majority is a majority again.
The Pierce County Council narrowly agreed to appoint University Place Republican Rep. Steve O’Ban to replace Sen. Mike Carrell, who died last week.
O’Ban was the second choice of local party activists but far and away the favorite of a crowd that packed the council meeting room today. He was also Carrell’s choice to eventually replace him, his widow Charlotte wrote in a letter read by O’Ban’s brother in law, radio host David Boze.
The unanimous vote for O’Ban came after a close 4-3 vote to reject the party’s first choice, former County Councilman Dick Muri.
Republicans Joyce McDonald and Doug Richardson and Democrat Rick Talbert voted for Muri, while Republicans Stan Flemming, Dan Roach and Jim McCune and Democrat Connie Ladenburg opposed him.
A freshman House member, O’Ban is a lawyer in high profile cases on behalf of conservative causes. He has represented pharmacists wanting the right to refuse to stock Plan B birth control; teachers suing the Washington Education Association union accusing misuse of money; and supporters of the state’s now-defunct Defense of Marriage Act.
Republicans were briefing O’Ban this afternoon on where things stand in the Senate and he is due to be sworn in around 10 a.m. Wednesday.
His appointment leaves another vacancy, this time in the House.