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AWB endorses Kim Wyman, Brad Owen, declines to choose between Troy Kelley and James Watkins

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on Sep. 14, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
September 14, 2012 4:27 pm

The state’s chamber of commerce heard what Troy Kelley and James Watkins had to say in a debate this week, then voted to endorse neither of them.

The Tacoma Democrat and Redmond Republican traded accusations of stealing and lying during the debate at the organization’s policy summit in Cle Elum. Revelations about past civil-court cases involving state Rep. Kelley have brought new attention to the race.

The Association of Washington Business board announced today it did endorse Republican Kim Wyman over Democrat Kathleen Drew for secretary of state, while picking Democratic Lt. Gov. Brad Owen over GOP challenger Bill Finkbeiner. Those candidates also debated at the AWB summit.

The statewide office endorsements require a 60 percent vote of the board.

Owen was one of a few Democrats who received the group’s endorsement, a group that also included House candidate Jake Fey of Tacoma, who is running against fellow Democratic Tacoma City Council member Lauren Walker, and Rep. Ross Hunter of Medina, the House budget chairman.

Most were Republicans, including Senate candidate Rep. Bruce Dammeier of Puyallup and House candidates Terry Harder of Tacoma, Shelly Schlumpf of Puyallup, Doug Richards of Port Orchard, Steve O’Ban of Tacoma, Paul Wagemann of Lakewood, Linda Kochmar of Federal Way, Dan Griffey of Allyn and Drew MacEwen of Union.

It’s the latest slate of candidates the AWB had endorsed, with gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna and others getting the nod in previous rounds.

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