Sen. Steve Hobbs leading in race for Washington Secretary of State

Senator Steve Hobbs is seeking to retain the office for the remaining two years of former Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman’s four-year term.

OLYMPIA, Washington — Check the latest primary election results

Senator Steve Hobbs, a Democrat, leads with 41% of the vote in the first race for Washington’s Secretary of State after the first round count began Tuesday night.

Current Pierce County Examiner Julie Anderson, who is running bipartisan, trailed Hobbs by 12.9% of the vote. Republican challenger Bob Hagglund is just behind at 12.4%.

KING 5 political analyst and former Washington Gov. Gary Locke said the seat of secretary of state is a position the Democratic Party has long desired. The seat had previously been held by Republican candidates for decades.

“It shows how often in Washington people really vote by candidate strength and not necessarily by party,” Locke said. “Nevertheless, this would be a great opportunity to expand the Democrats’ reach to more statewide offices, and quite frankly we got two good candidates.”

The election could be historic if Anderson secures the nomination by running bipartisanly, said Rob McKenna, political analyst and former Washington State attorney general.

“We need to see if voters can be persuaded to vote for someone who refuses to run as a partisan for that office or for any office really, because I don’t think we’ve seen a bipartisan victory,” McKenna said . “(Anderson) is clearly benefiting from the fact that the large number of Republican nominees for Secretary of State has split the vote.”

Democrats regained the post of secretary of state in Washington for the first time in more than five decades when Hobbs was sworn in to the position last November following an appointment by Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee.

Hobbs is seeking to retain the post for the remaining two years of former Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman’s four-year term.

Wyman was the fifth consecutive GOP secretary of state in Washington, dating back to 1965, but left for a key job as an election security official in the Biden administration.

Hobbs said he was “very encouraged by the numbers”. He said the results show voters trust him.

“I think people wanted someone who would protect our elections from cyber security threats, misinformation and disinformation and reach more voters,” Hobbs said.

“I’m feeling great,” said Anderson, who said it will likely be Friday before the two candidates for November’s election are finalized.

But she added: “I have a lot of confidence.”

Anderson said voters agree: Political parties should not be involved in the office of secretary of state.

“Voters have just been waiting for a candidate who has work experience with no party affiliations,” Anderson said in a Zoom interview. “You have never had the opportunity to select a candidate like this before. And obviously they were hungry for it.”

The secretary of state is not only the state’s chief election officer, but also the chief corporation officer and director of the state archives and library.

Hobbs raised more than $400,000, followed by Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson, who raised almost $170,000. Also in the running are former Senator Mark Miloscia, Tamborine Borrelli and Keith Wagoner.

Anderson, who has been Pierce County’s CPA for the past 12 years, noted that she has led Pierce County’s election team through three presidential elections and presided over hundreds of elections.

Miloscia said he wanted more audits of the system, saying that “voters have lost confidence in what we’re doing.”

There was no evidence of widespread voter fraud in Washington state, and Wyman, the former Republican secretary of state, regularly touted the security of the mail-in ballot system.

CLOCK: How your vote is counted Sen. Steve Hobbs leading in race for Washington Secretary of State

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