Steve Hobbs Moves On in Secretary of State Race But Opponent Remains Too Close to Call


Who will be moving on to the general election in the secretary of state's race remained unclear Tuesday night.

Democrat and incumbent Steve Hobbs will move forward, having received 41.2% of the vote, but who he will face remained too close to call.

Nonpartisan candidate Julie Anderson received the second most votes, with 12.9%, followed by Republican Bob Hagglund with 12.4%. Republican state Sen. Keith Wagoner trailed close behind with 12.2% of the vote.

In Washington, the top two candidates in the primary, regardless of party, advance to the general election.

The race for secretary of state was an unexpected one on this year's ballot. After former secretary Kim Wyman left her position last year to join the Biden administration, Gov. Jay Inslee appointed former state Sen. Hobbs to fill her spot. The seat was then open on this year's ballot, and the winner will serve the remainder of Wyman's term, which ends in 2024.

Hobbs said Tuesday those numbers were "very heartening" to him.

"Right now, the secretary of state's office is about combatting misinformation and cybersecurity," Hobbs said. "We need someone that understands that."

Anderson, who has served as Pierce County's nonpartisan auditor since 2009, was considered to be on the short list for Inslee's pick to replace Wyman.

"I know that my message of nonpartisanship and professionalism and experience in the office resonated with a lot of people," Anderson said in an interview Tuesday.

The state Republican Party criticized Inslee for not replacing Hobbs with a Republican, but did not show their support behind any one candidate this election. A Republican has held the office since 1964.

Republicans Hagglund, Wagoner and former state legislator Mark Milsocia, all trailed closely behind on Tuesday.

Wagoner said he was disappointed the vote was split.

"It's not good for a Republican candidate moving forward," he said.