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Pierce County Young Democrats endorse a Republican: auditor candidate Watkins

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on June 3, 2012 at 11:30 am |
June 4, 2012 10:29 am
James Watkins

This weekend at the state GOP convention, Republican James Watkins was touting an unusual endorsement — from the Pierce County Young Democrats.

The group picked its slate of endorsements this week, which otherwise features a host of Democrats from President Barack Obama on down. But for the first time in its leader’s recollection, it also picked a Republican in a partisan race, for state auditor.

“They did that because good government is a universal value,” Watkins told the convention.

Watkins won the support of 70 percent of the 30 voters — in part, probably, because he was the only candidate for auditor to show up to the endorsement interview. Tacoma centrist Democrat Troy Kelley sent a stand-in and filled out the group’s questionnaire; Democrats Craig Pridemore and Mark Miloscia didn’t participate.

It is fairly rare for Republicans to participate, said the group’s chairman, Benjamin Anderstone. Most don’t see it as worth their time. But Anderstone said it wasn’t just a matter of showing up; he said all of the endorsed candidates “came in and they spoke our language and they appealed to young Democratic voters’ values, including (renewing) trust in government.”

The candidates are trying to succeed longtime Auditor Brian Sonntag.

UPDATED 1:30 p.m. with clarification of Anderstone’s comment.

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