Wash­ing­to­ni­ans appear to have cho­sen two women as the final­ists in the crowd­ed race to suc­ceed Sam Reed as Sec­re­tary of State.

As of a few min­utes ago, Wyman (Thurston Coun­ty’s incum­bent audi­tor) and Drew (a for­mer state sen­a­tor and advis­er to Gov­er­nor Gre­goire) were com­fort­ably ahead of the five oth­er can­di­dates who filed for the seat. Wyman was the only Repub­li­can to file, but Drew had to con­tend with two oth­er Democ­rats (Greg Nick­els and Jim Kas­ta­ma) who each sought the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty’s nom­i­na­tion and support.

The Sec­re­tary of State is Wash­ing­ton’s top elec­tions offi­cial and records-keep­er. The Sec­re­tary of State is one of sev­er­al inde­pen­dent­ly elect­ed offi­cers in the exec­u­tive depart­ment, along with lieu­tenant gov­er­nor, attor­ney gen­er­al, trea­sur­er, audi­tor, com­mis­sion­er of pub­lic lands, and insur­ance commissioner.

Ear­ly returns were as follows:

Kim Wyman (Repub­li­can): 39.16% (300,886 votes)
Kath­leen Drew (Demo­c­rat): 21.53% (165,402 votes)
Greg Nick­els (Demo­c­rat): 16.18% (124,347 votes)
Jim Kas­ta­ma (Demo­c­rat): 13.88% (106,644 votes)
Karen Mur­ray (Con­sti­tu­tion Par­ty): 3.84% (29,508 votes)
David J. Ander­son (Inde­pen­dent): 3.69% (28,371 votes)
Sam Wright (Human Rights Par­ty): 1.71% (13,133 votes)

Greg Nick­els, the third place fin­ish­er, is more than forty thou­sand votes behind Drew, and it seems unlike­ly that he will catch up, espe­cial­ly con­sid­er­ing that Drew is win­ning in King Coun­ty, where Nick­els is best known.

One oth­er impor­tant obser­va­tion: A glance at the coun­ty-by-coun­ty map shows that Drew is beat­ing Wyman in Demo­c­ra­t­ic-lean­ing Jef­fer­son Coun­ty, despite the Demo­c­ra­t­ic vote being split between her and two oth­er seri­ous can­di­dates. She has a plu­ral­i­ty of the vote there — 31.33%, which bodes well for her going forward.

Here’s the take­away: If Drew can beat Wyman in a bell­wether swing coun­ty like Jef­fer­son in the win­now­ing elec­tion, she should be able to win in Sno­homish, Kit­sap, What­com, Skag­it, Island, Pierce, and oth­er key swing coun­ties this Novem­ber — not to men­tion King, which usu­al­ly votes Democratic.

“On behalf of Kath­leen, let me say that the results prove that eight months of hard work, reach­ing out statewide does pro­duce results,” Drew’s hus­band Steven wrote in a mes­sage on Face­book acknowl­edg­ing sup­port­ers after ear­ly results were post­ed. “Thank you all for your sup­port and trust.”

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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