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.”