Ex-GOP Sen. Finkbeiner challenging Lt. Gov. Owen

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OLYMPIA, Wash (AP) -- Former state Sen. Bill Finkbeiner is running for lieutenant governor.

Finkbeiner said Monday that he wants to encourage more bipartisan cooperation to prevent gridlock in the state Legislature. He also wants less influence from lobbyists.

Lt. Gov. Brad Owen is a Democrat who has held the post since 1997.

Finkbeiner was a Democrat when he was first elected to the state House in 1992. As a Republican, he crossed party lines in 2006 to help pass a gay civil rights bill that had been held up in the Senate for years. He decided later that year to not seek re-election.

The lieutenant governor presides over the state Senate and leads the state if the governor is unavailable.