Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson on Thursday conceded defeat to Democrat Steve Hobbs in a tight race for Washington secretary of state, saying the campaign was over.
In an emailed statement, Anderson said she knew her bid to be the first nonpartisan secretary of state elected by voters in Washington would be tough, but she believed it had to happen.
“Voters deserved to have the choice of an experienced election administrator – without party ties,” Anderson’s statement said. “Although many voters made that choice, it wasn’t quite enough.”
Anderson has been tracking Hobbs since the first vote tally was released Tuesday night. The tallies still showed Hobbs with over 49% of the vote while Anderson had nearly 47%.
Thousands of ballots continue to be tabulated. The Associated Press did not declare a winner in the race.
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Hobbs, 52, was nominated by Gov. Jay Inslee last November to replace Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman after she accepted an election security post in the Biden administration. His nomination marked the first time a Democrat had held the office since the mid-1960s, but Hobbs had yet to face voters.
“We made history! I am honored that voters trusted me and endorsed the work we did last year to ensure elections in Washington were safe, transparent and accessible to all,” Hobbs said in a statement sent by email. “My thanks to Auditor Anderson for his service and spirited campaign.”
Hobbs, who is of Japanese descent, would be the first person of color to play the role.
This election determines who serves the remaining two years of Wyman’s term.
“I have already called Secretary Hobbs to wish him well as he leads this very important office,” Anderson said. “I stand ready to assist the Secretary of State’s office in any way. I ask all of my supporters to do the same.”
Anderson, 57, has been a Pierce County auditor for nearly 13 years.
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