Washington’s lone remaining statewide elected Republican is under consideration for a job in the Biden administration and could soon be leaving the state executive department to serve as DHS’ chief election security liaison to the states, CNN reported this evening, citing multiple sources “familiar with the matter.”
Kim Wyman, fifty-nine, has served as Washington’s Secretary of State since 2013. She has won three consecutive elections for the position, defeating Democratic opponents Kathleen Drew, Tina Podlodowski (who is now the Chair of the Washington State Democratic Party) and Gael Tarleton, NPI’s board dean.
But now it appears that Wyman may be on the verge of stepping down from that role and stepping up into a key position at the federal level.
“Federal officials have for weeks been in talks with Wyman, who is Washington state’s secretary of state, to serve as the election security lead for DHS’ Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity,” CNN’s report said. “The sources said Wyman’s selection would not be official until all administrative paperwork is cleared with the White House and the administration announces her appointment.”
The news instantly set Washington State political circles abuzz.
Reporters quickly reached out to Wyman’s office for comment and were told by Wyman’s staff that they couldn’t confirm the CNN report. Well, of course not. If the report is what we think it is — a trial balloon — then confirming CNN’s reporting would have defeated the purpose of arranging the story’s publication. Importantly, Wyman’s office did not deny the rumor. If CNN was totally off base, surely Wyman’s communications folks would have said so. But they didn’t.
It did not take long for the Associated Press to independently confirm the rumor. The AP characterized its knowledge of the negotiations this way:
She is in talks to serve as the election security leader for the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the agency responsible for safeguarding U.S. elections, the people told The Associated Press. The people had knowledge of the discussions but weren’t authorized to speak publicly and spoke to AP on condition of anonymity.
Bringing Wyman to DHS could enable the administration to make more headway in its efforts to prepare the country for the 2022 midterms. American democracy is currently under assault from both foreign adversaries as well as domestic enemies. Wyman could be an ideal federal emissary to local Republican elections officials who are under tremendous pressure to do Trump’s bidding and betray the Constitution they swore or affirmed an oath to uphold.
If Wyman does jump to the federal level, she’ll have to resign her position within Washington State’s executive department, which means Washington would get a new Secretary of State for the first time in almost ten years. Vacancies in the executive department are filled by gubernatorial appointment in accordance with state law, and unlike with legislative or county level vacancies, appointees need not be of the same political party as the departing officeholder.
Consequently, Governor Jay Inslee would have the opportunity to appoint a Democrat to succeed Wyman following her resignation. The office would then be subject to election in the 2022 midterms, with the winner of the special election serving out the remainder of Wyman’s current term.
The office is responsible for administering elections, corporations and charities, the state library and archives, and the apostilles and address confidentiality programs. The Secretary of State is also the custodian of the state’s seal.
If the administration does indeed offer Wyman a position and she accepts, we will cover the announcement here on The Cascadia Advocate. Stay tuned!