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Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson launches nonpartisan bid for secretary of state

Julie Anderson wears a red shirt with black blazer.
Pierce County
Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson

Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson announced her campaign for secretary of state on Wednesday – and she’s running as a nonpartisan candidate, a value she feels strongly about.

Anderson told KNKX Public Radio that the only way she can run an authentic race is to divorce it from partisan politics.

“Doing it this way is consistent with my values,” she said. “And it’s consistent with my political history. I’m not going to run a campaign that’s not authentic.”

Anderson was elected as Pierce County’s first nonpartisan auditor in 2009. She adds that there’s nothing wrong with political parties, but the people who administer elections shouldn’t be partisan.

She also said the secretary of state should have hands-on experience — and should focus on administering elections that work for everyone. She says that’s especially important now, when unfounded claims of voter fraud swirl around elections.

“I’m not defensive. I’m open to questions. I can thoroughly explain election law," she said. "And that makes a difference when we’re trying to regain and maintain the trust of residents of Washington state and the nation."

Anderson’s announcement follows the governor’s appointment of state Sen. Steve Hobbs, a Democrat, to replace former Secretary of State Kim Wyman, a Republican, after she joined the Biden administration last month.

She says she’s challenging Hobbs for the seat because voters deserve the option of someone who has elections experience. Hobbs, a lieutenant colonel in the Washington National Guard, does not have a background in elections.

Republican state Sen. Keith Wagoner has also said he will run for the office. He also does not have elections experience.

Anderson’s term as Pierce County auditor expires at the end of 2022.

Kari Plog is a former KNKX reporter who covered the people and systems in Pierce, Thurston and Kitsap counties, with an emphasis on police accountability.