Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson on Thursday conceded defeat to Democrat Steve Hobbs in a tight race for Washington secretary of state, saying the campaign is over.
In an emailed statement, Anderson said she knew her bid to be the first nonpartisan secretary of state elected by Washington voters would be tough, but she believed it needed to happen.
“Voters deserved to have the choice of an experienced elections administrator — without party strings attached,” Anderson's statement said. “While many voters made that choice, it wasn’t quite enough.”
Anderson has trailed Hobbs since the first ballot counts were released Tuesday night. Tallies have consistently shown Hobbs with more than 49% of the vote while Anderson has had nearly 47%.
Thousands of ballots continue to be tabulated. The Associated Press has not declared a winner in the race.
Hobbs, 52, was appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee last November to replace Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman after she took an elections security job in the Biden administration. His appointment marked the first time a Democrat held the office since the mid-1960s, but Hobbs had not yet faced voters.
“We made history! I’m honored that voters have put their faith in me and endorsed the work we’ve done this past year ensuring Washington’s elections are secure, transparent, and accessible to all," Hobbs said in an emailed statement. "My thanks to Auditor Anderson for her service and spirited campaign."
Hobbs, who is of Japanese descent, would be the first person of color to serve in the role.
This election determines who serves the remaining two years of Wyman’s term.
“I’ve already called Secretary Hobbs to wish him the best as he leads this very important office,” Anderson said. "I stand ready to assist the Office of the Secretary of State in any way. I ask all my supporters to do the same.”
Anderson, 57, has been Pierce County auditor for nearly 13 years.