Two Demo­c­ra­t­ic leg­is­la­tors, one from the House and one from the Sen­ate, announced with­in hours of each oth­er this morn­ing that they’ve decid­ed to run for statewide posi­tions in 2012, enlarg­ing the field of can­di­dates who are seek­ing to make the jump to high­er office in what promis­es to be fair­ly excit­ing year.

State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Zack Hud­gins got out of the gate first, con­firm­ing that he has decid­ed to launch a cam­paign for sec­re­tary of state, a posi­tion cur­rent­ly held by Repub­li­can Sam Reed. Reed is retir­ing after serv­ing for sev­er­al terms.

“I believe I bring the man­age­ment expe­ri­ence and com­mit­ment to democ­ra­cy need­ed to ensure the office of Sec­re­tary of State meets the high­est stan­dards,” Hud­gins said in a state­ment. The five-term state rep­re­sen­ta­tive present­ly serves as Gen­er­al Gov­ern­ment Appro­pri­a­tions and Over­sight Com­mit­tee Chair.

His announce­ment notes that he has worked abroad help­ing peo­ple in oth­er coun­tries con­duct elec­tions, which is one the prin­ci­pal respon­si­bil­i­ties of the sec­re­tary of state (and cer­tain­ly the posi­tion’s most vis­i­ble respon­si­bil­i­ty). To date, Hud­gins’ work has tak­en him to Ukraine, Kyr­gyzs­tan, and Iraq.

“The great­est threat to our democ­ra­cy is a cor­rupt­ed elec­tion process and we must be ever vig­i­lant to pro­tect that process, regard­less of our per­son­al or par­ty pref­er­ences,” Hud­gins said.  “My time spent in Iraq showed me how frag­ile and impor­tant democ­ra­cy can be and helped me under­stand how to bet­ter pro­mote and safe­guard elec­tions in our state.”

Also run­ning for Sec­re­tary of State are State Sen­a­tor Jim Kas­ta­ma and Kath­leen Drew (both Democ­rats), along with Thurston Coun­ty Audi­tor Kim Wyman (a Repub­li­can). Hud­gins’ entry in the race gives Democ­rats three cred­i­ble can­di­dates from which to choose for sec­re­tary of state.

Mean­while, State Sen­a­tor Craig Pride­more has decid­ed to run for audi­tor, a posi­tion cur­rent­ly held by Bri­an Son­ntag. In 2010, Pride­more briefly ran for Con­gress in WA-03, but ulti­mate­ly backed out, choos­ing not to com­pete with Den­ny Heck in the win­now­ing elec­tion. He will have to give up his Sen­ate seat to run for auditor.

“I’ll bring hands-on audit­ing expe­ri­ence, an eye for detail, and exper­tise in the func­tion­ing of state and local gov­ern­ments to this impor­tant office,” Pride­more said in a state­ment. “Retir­ing Audi­tor Son­ntag pro­fes­sion­al­ized the office and made it a watch­dog for tax­pay­ers. I’ll take it to the next lev­el as a resource for long-term reform and effi­cien­cy in an era of dimin­ish­ing rev­enues and need­ed restructuring.”

“There is a lot of talk about how to address tax exemp­tions and we need a fair way to assess both their costs, and their val­ue to our econ­o­my and to tax­pay­ers,” said Pride­more. “I’d like to make this dis­cus­sion less par­ti­san and spe­cial inter­est dri­ven, and more objec­tive and data dri­ven. It’s a great role for an Auditor.”

State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mark Milos­cia is also vying to suc­ceed Son­ntag. He, like Pride­more, will have to give up his seat in the Leg­is­la­ture to run.

As many read­ers know, in 2008, we made cov­er­age of down­bal­lot state exec­u­tive races a pri­or­i­ty here on The Advo­cate. We plan to con­tin­ue that tra­di­tion in 2012 with a series focus­ing on the con­tests for sec­re­tary of state, audi­tor, lands com­mis­sion­er, trea­sur­er, insur­ance com­mis­sion­er, super­in­ten­dent of pub­lic instruc­tion, and attor­ney general.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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