On Monday, state Auditor Brian Sonntag announced he won’t run for re-election.
On Tuesday, we learned that the campaign to recall Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer Dale Washam had fallen just short of the needed petition signatures.
Just a coincidence? Well, yes. But I couldn’t help wondering if one of Pierce County’s most successful politicians might be giving any thought to running for assessor-treasurer next year.
“To be honest, I hadn’t thought about it; I assumed the recall effort would be successful,” Sonntag said today. But, he noted, “Pierce County is still where my heart is. . . . I’d be interested in exploring it.”
Although just about any credible candidate could probably fare well against Washam, were he to seek re-election, Sonntag would be formidable. He’s one of the most popular statewide elected officials, and he’s been elected to two different positions already in Pierce County: as county clerk in 1978 when he was only 26 years old, and as county auditor twice.
But wouldn’t the assessor-treasurer position be a comedown for Sonntag?
You might think so, but actually it pays quite a bit more: $123,210 in 2010, compared to the state auditor’s salary of $116,950. And Sonntag, who lives in University Place, would be only 10 minutes away from the assessor-treasurer’s office in the county annex compared to the nasty commute to Olympia.
“You’ve started a spark,” Sonntag said. “It’s certainly worth thinking about.”