Interest in Mike Leita’s Yakima County commission seat is growing with five more candidates entering the fray.

Nolan Wentz, Earl Lee, Timothy Smith, Christine Dimas and Jamon Rivera have shown interest recently.

That brings to seven the number of candidates seeking the appointment.

Grocery store owner Vicki Baker and mortgage broker Amanda McKinney previously announced their interest.

Leita is leaving office in December with a year left on his term.

Under state law, an incumbent’s party nominates three potential replacements. Remaining commissioners Ron Anderson and Norm Childress will make the final decision after Leita leaves office.

Candidates must be registered voters and live in District 1, which includes much of Terrace Heights, north and west Yakima and the Upper Valley.

Wentz is a retired Yakima police officer who ran an unsuccessful campaign for Yakima County Sheriff last November and Lee is a retired school administrator.

Smith is a construction inspector with Yakima County, Dimas is a private care provider and Rivera is the senior director of revenue operations at Virginia Mason Memorial Hospital.

Yakima County Republican precinct committee officers, who make up the local Republican Central Committee, will meet on Oct. 3 to pick three nominees to forward to commissioners.

Reach Phil Ferolito at pferolito@yakimaherald.com or on Twitter: @philipferolito