Down by more than 30,000 votes in the state auditor’s race after two days of ballot counting, State Sen. Craig Pridemore has conceded to the top two candidates, Republican James Watkins and Democrat Troy Kelley.
That prompted statements today from both victors, who go on to the Nov. 6 general election.
Watkins criticized Kelley for TV ads he said are misleading, and called for a series of debates across the state. Kelley said it was his crisscrossing of the state with stops at small-town diners and coffee shops that carried the day.
State Auditor Candidate Comments on Primary Election
For More Information www.troykelley.com
For Immediate Release Thursday, August 8, 2012
State Representative Troy Kelley issues a campaign statement:
I want to commend Rep. Mark Miloscia and Sen. Craig Pridemore on engaging in a discussion ofthe issues that affect the State Auditor’s Office over the last several months. I would also like to thank Brian Sonntag. He has done an amazing job and is consistently acknowledged as the best State Auditor in the country. He stands for open and accountable government, and I hope to continue his great work in Olympia.
Our work has brought us directly to the voters of all 39 counties, not to the special interest groups and the political establishment. This grassroots campaign has discussed the issues with thousands of voters at their doorsteps and the response was overwhelming. I have met people at their local diners and coffee shops and listened to the issues important to them. I look forward to being their independent voice in Olympia. I want to credit my campaign manager, Matt Miller,and the entire campaign organization for putting the infrastructure in place to communicate with more than six million citizens of the State of Washington.
We look forward to a continuing discussion of the issues and communicating our vision for the State Auditor’s Office over the next several months.
The preliminary results are in, and it looks like I’ll face State Representative Troy Kelley in the general election for Washington State Auditor.
During the primary campaign, I had a chance to get to know and appreciate State Senator Pridemore and State Representative Miloscia. I’d like to thank them for their public service and for running good, clean campaigns. I hope they’ll continue to serve the citizens of Washington State.
To the hundreds of thousands of voters from across the state who made me the top vote getter and trust me to be their watchdog in Olympia – thank you. I’ll do my best to honor your vote and will work to make our government more accountable, more effective, and more efficient. I will be your watchdog in Olympia. If you didn’t vote for me in the primary, I hope to earn your vote in November.
As we move to the general, the central question of this election is clear – will Washington build on the legacy of Brian Sonntag and retain an independent state auditor’s office or will we turn the office into another Olympia-based political shop?
The new state auditor will help drive reform – or block it. He will champion open government – or protect government from oversight. He will work for the taxpayers – or work for the government.
As candidates in the primary, State Representative Kelley and I ran very different races. I like Troy – but he ran an incredibly cynical race, spending a record amount to fool voters into thinking Brian Sonntag endorsed him as state auditor. In print, the voter’s guide, on-line, and on television, Troy used a two year old endorsement for a different office as if it were current – and was called out for it by the Tacoma News Tribune, Seattle Times, the Spokane Spokesman-Review and Brian Sonntag himself.
I chose to focus on my 23 years of experience and the real issues facing Washington State and the auditor’s office – and earned a convincing primary win, mainstream endorsements from all the major newspapers that endorsed, and bi-partisan endorsements from Democrats and Republicans across the state.
In the primary, State Representative Kelley hid behind misleading advertising instead of engaging in real debate about the role of the auditor’s office, his background, and his qualifications. I hope he’ll reconsider in the general election. Today, I’d like to formally invite Troy to appear with me in a series of debates across Washington State – from his adopted hometown of Tacoma to my hometown in King County. From Spokane, the Tri-Cities, Yakima, and Wenatchee to Aberdeen – voters deserve an open and transparent election. They deserve to know their candidates’ real backgrounds and exactly where their candidates stand.
In conclusion, although times change, many things stay the same. The last time Washingtonians hired a sitting legislator to be their state auditor, he used the auditor’s office to push policies he couldn’t pass as a legislator. He successfully pushed for higher taxes and more tax collectors. Four years later, he lost the office in a landslide. That was in 1897. Washingtonians haven’t made that same mistake in 115 years – and I don’t think we’re going to make that mistake in 2012.
As I’ve said for months, the state auditor’s race isn’t glamorous, it’s not sexy, and it shouldn’t be partisan. It’s about hiring a professional to do a very necessary job. Washington’s taxpayers demand an independent, non-partisan, and professional state auditor – and state auditor’s office. I intend to see they get both.
Thanks again for your support.