An observation: For decades, the Northwest has been fortunate in its secretaries of state, the people who oversee their states’ elections. It’s a job you can take for granted as long as it’s done well – the big headlines usually emerge when someone has screwed up. And the Northwest secstates have largely managed to avoid those kinds of headlines for a long time.
The odd exception – making headlines in the process of doing things right – is something Washington’s secretary of state, Sam Reed, actually has done on occasion. The big case was Reed’s management and stance in the 2004 Washington gubernatorial contest, an iron challenge for any elections official; Reed emerged having irritated hardcore party loyalists but impressing about everyone else for his ethics and professionalism. In more low-key ways, those qualities were there as well for Washington’s transition to mail voting.
Those thoughts come to mind with Reed’s announcement today that he will not run for a fourth term; he was first elected, after work as the Thurston County auditor, in 2000. (He surely would have had little trouble winning a fourth term if he’d sought it.) He’s set a high bar for whoever his successor may be.
On the political side, there’s a fair guess his successor will be different in at least some ways. Reed has been a centrist Republican, often called a moderate, and threading that ideological needle (centrist + Republican) was tough in 2000 and may be much tougher for a newcomer in 2012.
Take an indicator if you will from the first candidate to announce a run for the job. That would be state Senator Jim Kastama, D-Puyallup, who was in (with website and campaign materials prepared) almost immediately after Reed’s announcement. Here is the lead of his announcement statement:
State Senator Jim Kastama (D-Puyallup) thanked Secretary of State Sam Reed for his years of dedicated public service. “Secretary Reed has been a tremendous steward of the State Seal and advocate for the rights of voters in Washington. I deeply respect Sam’s integrity and his commitment to fairness. I wish him and Margie the best.””
We’ll keep a look out for the first Republican candidate(s) and what they say.
UPDATE At least one Republican is now (as of late June 29) in as well: the current Thurston County Auditor Kim Wyman. Recall that this is the job Reed held before his statewide election.Share on Facebook