Nonpartisan candidate for Washington secretary of state aims to instill ‘neutrality in the office’

Mar 28, 2022, 1:41 PM
blue state, Elway, secretary of state...
Mailed-in primary ballots at the King County Elections processing center in Renton, Washington. (File photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
(File photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson has worked in local elections for over 12 years, and soon, she hopes to become Washington’s first-ever nonpartisan secretary of state.

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Democrat Steve Hobbs was tagged to serve as secretary of state by Gov. Jay Inslee, after incumbent Republican Kim Wyman left for a new role with the Biden administration. Under state law, Hobbs will operate in the role until an election can take place in 2022, where he appears likely to run against Anderson and Republican Keith Wagoner.

Before registering as an independent for her new role, Wyman was a rarity in Washington government as the lone state-level elected Republican, but was often adamant about her position as a relative moderate. Anderson hopes to take that a step further as a candidate who isn’t beholden to any political party whatsoever.

“I feel called to action,” she told KIRO Newsradio’s Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien. “I don’t know what the future holds, but I do want to be part of the solution.”

“A lot of that violent rhetoric and extremism is being stoked by hyper-partisan speech,” she continued. “Installing a secretary of state that’s nonpartisan that doesn’t belong to a team is going to go a long way to instilling some trust, and certainly neutrality in the office.”

Without the support of a major political party, Anderson acknowledges her status as an underdog, but cites her years of experience that she says make her an ideal fit for the role. She also holds a firm belief that Washington’s own election systems are “in good shape,” while still highlighting a goal to ensure that people are informed and educated, particularly in today’s charged political climate regarding election fraud.

‘A bittersweet night’ as Sec. of State Wyman reflects on her last Washington election

“We’ve had skeptics and people that have reasonable questions or extreme perspectives for as long as I’ve been involved in elections,” she described. “I don’t go anywhere without references back to the Rossi/Gregoire election, right? That is still alive and well and imprinted deeply in everybody’s memory.”

“What people don’t realize is that over 200 election laws were changed as a result of that, and (people) haven’t kept pace with how election law has tightened and how we’ve become better,” she added.

To that end, she notes that “there’s just a lot of education to do” for Washington voters, but is “highly confident” in her ability to get the job done.

And if she ever did get a phone call from a presidential candidate asking her to “find” some extra votes, she’d have one simple request.

“Let me get that on tape,” she joked.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Nonpartisan candidate for Washington secretary of state aims to instill ‘neutrality in the office’