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Hobbs holds slim lead in Secretary of State race after first results

Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson, left, and current Democratic Secretary of State Steve Hobbs.
Ted Warren
Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson, left, and current Democratic Secretary of State Steve Hobbs.

A Democrat is poised to win election as Washington Secretary of State for the first time in nearly 60 years.

Appointed incumbent Steve Hobbs is leading nonpartisan challenger Julie Anderson by 3 points after the initial count of ballots. If Hobbs holds on to win, he'd also be the first person of color elected as Washington Secretary of State.

"People probably looked at both candidates and went, ‘You know what, Hobbs is doing a good job, or the current secretary is doing a good job.’ Why replace somebody who is doing a good job," said Hobbs.

The winner will serve the remaining two years in office of a term originally won by Republican Kim Wyman. Wyman departedlast year to take a job in the Biden administration.

Neither Hobbs nor Anderson declared victory based on the initial returns. But Hobbs sounded optimistic when he spoke to the crowd at the state Democrats' election night party.

"What red wave? I don’t understand, was there a red wave here? There was no red wave in Washington state. So, thank you so much," Hobbs said.

Challenger Anderson currently runs elections in Pierce County. She said the outcome may be up in the air until Friday.

"With 13 years of experience, what I know is this: races will tighten, races can widen and races can actually flip," Anderson said.

GOP state Rep. Brad Klippert of Kennewick mounted a shoestring write-in campaign after no Republicans made it to the general in this race. He’s at around 3%.

Correspondent Tom Banse is an Olympia-based reporter with more than three decades of experience covering Washington and Oregon state government, public policy, business and breaking news stories. Most of his career was spent with public radio's Northwest News Network, but now in semi-retirement his work is appearing on other outlets.