Gee & Ursula: Is it possible to be a nonpartisan politician?

Dec 16, 2021, 12:36 PM
Mailed-in ballots without party affiliation declared await counting at the King County Elections processing center on March 9, 2020, in Renton, Washington. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson announced her intent to run for the secretary of state job this week, and says she will be entering the race as a nonpartisan candidate.

Pierce County auditor hopes to be Washington’s first nonpartisan secretary of state

With allegations of voter fraud following nearly every election of consequence now, the secretary of state position is an important one.

The seat will be up for election next year after Washington’s now-former Secretary of State Kim Wyman left for a job with the Biden administration. Gov. Inslee appointed state Senator Steve Hobbs to the role in Wyman’s place, where he will serve until a special election is held for the office in 2022. The winner will serve out the remaining two years of Wyman’s term, followed by a regularly scheduled election for the office in 2024.

Wyman frequently joined KIRO Radio’s Gee and Ursula Show when she was secretary of state, and once got emotional talking about the threats made against her and her staff. Knowing that goes along with this office, and how tensions are so high, why does Anderson want to throw her hat in the ring?

“Even though Secretary Wyman may have gotten emotional on one of those interviews, look how she responded — by standing tall, speaking with clarity, giving people facts, and conducting the election and leading 39 counties through a very tumultuous 2020 election,” Anderson told the Gee & Ursula Show this week. “Those are some of the skills and attributes that the next secretary of state has to have, and I am battle tested, so to speak.”

“Knowing everything, having experienced 12 years worth of elections, three presidential campaigns, I’m ready,” she added. “I know what it takes. I know what it involves. It gets tough sometimes, but it’s also very energizing.”

Anderson says she feels called to this work, and that she likes to meet with people who have concerns and talk through them. Especially, she said, those who have concerns in good faith. She thinks some people are truly lacking information or context, “and they want to be heard without being ridiculed.”

“I’m really passionate about that community engagement,” she said.

As far as why she’s running as a nonpartisan candidate, Anderson explained that she thinks this position should not be partisan.

“As we all know, elections can certainly be partisan, but the people that are administering them should not be partisan,” she said. “Having to pick a team to represent you on the campaign trail when you’re running for this office, I think sets a terrible tone for how you will behave in office, and it creates unnecessary drag and concern with voters and Washington state residents.”

“When they start guessing your motivations, they start second guessing what you’re doing in office and where your true commitment lies,” she added. “So why bring that into the office?”

Anderson says it’s also just how she operates.

“I’ve never run for a partisan office. I’m famous for saying, quite some time ago, long before I was considering this, that I would never run under a party flag,” she said. “I just think it’s important, particularly in Washington state, when we have so many unaffiliated voters and Washington state residents, that people believe that I’m working for everybody and that I don’t even have a hint of a concern about satisfying political goals.”

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Gee & Ursula: Is it possible to be a nonpartisan politician?