Last year, when star Democratic legislator Mike Pellicciotti declared his candidacy for Washington State Treasurer, Democratic activists rejoiced.
In Pellicciotti, they knew they had a candidate with a strong work ethic who could unify their party behind the goal of retaking the office of State Treasurer, which Democrats gave up in 2016 when their field of candidates split the vote so badly that two Republicans were able to advance to the general election.
Pellicciotti has done just that.
In fact, he’s been such a dynamic and effective candidate that no one else bothered to file for the position of State Treasurer except for the incumbent, Duane Davidson, the Republican who got the most votes four years ago.
Pellicciotti won the August Top Two election with surprising ease, finishing well ahead of Davidson, who has been largely invisible to Washington State voters during the past four years, unlike Secretary of State and fellow Republican Kim Wyman, who has a much higher profile and is in a better position to win.
Pellicciotti garnered 53.22% of the vote in August, winning eight counties: King, San Juan, Jefferson, Thurston, Whatcom, Kitsap, Island, and Snohomish.
He also came very close to winning in Pierce County, the second largest jurisdiction in the state. Davidson, meanwhile, got 46.67% of the vote.
Pellicciotti was already in outstanding shape for a challenger before the home stretch of the cycle, having prevailed over an incumbent in Round One and captured a majority of the vote, which just doesn’t happen very often.
However, our recent statewide poll found him with an even bigger lead of ten points with a little less than three weeks to go until the end of voting.
Here are the numbers and the exact question we asked:
QUESTION: The 2020 candidates for State Treasurer are Democrat Mike Pellicciotti and Republican Duane Davidson. Who are you voting for?
- Mike Pellicciotti: 46%
- Duane Davidson: 36%
- Not sure: 18%
Our survey of six hundred and ten likely 2020 Washington State voters was in the field from Wednesday, October 14th through Thursday, October 15th.
It utilizes a blended methodology, with automated phone calls to landlines and text message answers from cell phone only respondents.
The poll was conducted by Public Policy Polling for the Northwest Progressive Institute, and has a margin of error of +/- 4.0% at the 95% confidence level.
Downballot races like State Treasurer tend not to get much coverage or attention, but they certainly do matter. The winner of this contest will be in charge of managing the state’s money for the next four years and could play a role in helping Washington establish a state investment trust.
Pellicciotti — who has authored successful legislation to strengthen campaign finance laws and toughen penalties for corporate crimes — has assailed Davidson for not showing up to work (he’s missed a large number of important board and commission meetings) and supporting Donald Trump’s reelection campaign.
Davidson has belatedly responded to these criticisms with an ad that calls Pellicciotti an “activist attorney” who is “soft on crime” and “lenient on criminals”. (The ad is narrated by Assistant State Treasurer Erhiza Rivera.)
What’s really interesting about this ad is that it ends with this line: “A newspaper said it best: Davidson is a CPA and a good one. But he’s not necessarily a great politician. Vote Duane Davidson because your money depends on him.”
Admitting to not being very good at politics is truly a strange thing to say in a campaign ad. You can watch Davidson’s ad by clicking Play below.
And here’s Pellicciotti’s ad assailing Davidson. Click Play below to watch.
Voting in the 2020 presidential election is currently in progress and is set to conclude on November 3rd, 2020 at 8 PM Pacific in Washington State.