Mike Pellicciotti speaking at his campaign kickoff
State Representative Mike Pellicciotti addresses a packed room at his campaign kickoff (Photo: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

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.

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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