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News >  Washington

Democratic incumbent Hobbs leading in Secretary of State race, though race still too close to call

Nov. 8, 2022 Updated Tue., Nov. 8, 2022 at 11:11 p.m.

BELLEVUE – Democratic incumbent Steve Hobbs is leading in the race for secretary of state, although nonpartisan opponent Julie Anderson is not far behind.

Hobbs has received more than 50% of the vote while Anderson has received just under 47%. Write-in candidates have received about 3% of the vote, though the secretary of state doesn’t report the names of the write-in candidates. Republicans endorsed state Rep. Brad Klippert in a last-minute push for a write-in candidate after the party failed to get a candidate through the primary.

This election will be the first time in 58 years that a non-Republican is elected to the office. If Hobbs wins, it could be the first time in six decades a Democrat is elected as secretary of state.

“I can’t believe I’m here right now,” Hobbs said at a Washington State Democratic Party in Bellevue. “There is no way that I could achieve these numbers without all your help.”

Anderson said Tuesday she was not conceding and that there are a number of ballots still to count. In a tweet before results were released, she said a competitive race like the secretary of state should have clarity by Friday.

More ballots will be counted in the coming days, so the exact results of the race are likely to change. County auditors were anticipating a later-than-normal surge in voting, meaning it could be the end of this week or early next before most ballots are tallied.

The secretary of state is the state’s chief elections officer, and the role also includes archiving government records and providing information and access to the business community about corporations and charities.

The secretary of state’s race is an add-on this year after former Secretary Kim Wyman left the job last November to join the Biden administration.

Gov. Jay Inslee appointed Hobbs, a moderate Democrat, to fill the seat until the general election, with the winner serving out Wyman’s term through 2024. Before his appointment, Hobbs served as a state senator and spend decades in the U.S. Army and National Guard.

Hobbs said his experience in leadership and in cybersecurity are essential for the role of secretary of state. He said cybersecurity and fighting misinformation were two of the most important issues this election season.

Anderson criticized Hobbs’s lack of elections administration experience. Anderson has served as a nonpartisan Pierce County auditor since 2009.

She has said the office should be nonpartisan in an effort to keep politics out of elections administration.

“I’m proud to have earned support from folks across the political spectrum,” Anderson wrote on Twitter before results were posted Tuesday. “It’s a great reminder that there are things on which we can find common ground. In the case of my nonpartisan campaign for Secretary of State, a large percent of the electorate set aside their ideological differences in support for competence and experience.”

Republicans failed to get an official candidate on the ballot but threw their support behind Klippert, of Kennewick, who joined the race as a write-in candidate in September. He has campaigned on removing Washington’s vote-by-mail system.

The race became one of the closest this election season.

Cornell Clayton, director of the Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service at Washington State University,

Republicans failed to get an official candidate on the ballot but threw their support behind Klippert, of Kennewick, who joined the race as a write-in candidate in September. He has campaigned on removing Washington’s vote-by-mail system.

The race became one of the closest this election season.

Cornell Clayton, director of the Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service at Washington State University, n the number of undecided voters so close to Election Day.

According to Democratic Party consistently tried to paint Anderson as a conservative, despite fundraising and campaign records showing Anderson has supported a number of Democrats in the past, according to Axios.

Meanwhile, Anderson last week released an ad criticizing Hobbs for voting against progressive legislation as a state senator, including the clean fuels standard and a capital gains tax.

Laurel Demkovich's reporting for The Spokesman-Review is funded in part by Report for America and by members of the Spokane community. This story can be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact our newspaper’s managing editor.

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