Ex-Issaquah legislator is locked in tight race for secretary of state

November 7, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 11:55 a.m. Nov. 7, 2012

Democrat Kathleen Drew, a former Issaquah state senator, is locked in a close race for secretary of state against Thurston County Auditor Kim Wyman, a Republican.

The contest to choose a successor to Republican Secretary of State Sam Reed is split 50.39 percent for Wyman against 49.61 percent for Drew in the initial results released Tuesday.

The secretary of state serves as the top elections official in Washington. The office also handles registrations for corporations and charities.

Reed plans to retire after a dozen years in the post. In 2004, he led the office through the contest between Gregoire and Dino Rossi — the closest gubernatorial race in U.S. history.

Drew served as a representative for Issaquah and other Eastside communities in the mid-1990s.  Rossi, a Sammamish Republican, defeated Drew for re-election to the Senate in 1996.

Drew later resettled in Olympia, and served in Gov. Chris Gregoire’s administration, initially as a policy adviser focused on the environment and then on general government issues.

Wyman served as Thurston County elections manager and after voters elected Reed, then the Thurston County auditor, as secretary of state, Wyman assumed the auditor post in January 2001.

Thurston County voters subsequently elected Wyman as auditor, most recently in a November 2010 landslide. Reed later endorsed Wyman’s bid for secretary of state.

In the race for secretary of state, Drew secured state Democrats’ endorsement for secretary of state and outpolled other Democrats — Puyallup state Sen. Jim Kastama and former Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels — in the August primary election.

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