The Republican wished his opponent well, after a bruising campaign in which Watkins exposed past accusations of misconduct from Kelley’s business career.
For all that controversy, Kelley had a few advantages: Centrist credentials from his time in the Legislature; an ability to self-fund his campaign and outspend Watkins; and most of all, the Democratic Party label next to his name.
Democrats have swept the seven statewide partisan races that have been called so far. Only close races for governor and secretary of state remain uncalled, with Democrat Jay Inslee and Republican Kim Wyman, respectively, leading their opponents.
Here’s Watkins’s statement:
Despite some gains in recent days, it does not appear that I will prevail in my run for State Auditor.
In the past year, I’ve had the opportunity to travel the length and breadth of Washington State and talk with thousands of folks. It was a huge effort, but incredibly rewarding to work with Republicans, Democrats, and independents concerned about good government. We’re a good people. We want the best for our kids, and want the best for our neighbors. We’re also pragmatic and fiscally conservative – we approved legalization of Marijuana and approved a 2/3 majority requirement to increase taxes. And now, we have to come together for the future.
The State Auditor’s Office is critical to the future of good government in Washington State. It is my sincere hope that Troy Kelley has a successful term and capably fills the vacuum left by Brian Sonntag.
To my family, volunteers, and supporters across the state – thank you. The hard work, sacrifice, and trust you’ve given me is humbling. There is no way you can know how much it has meant to Ashley and me. But now, it’s time to refocus on my family and private sector career. That said, in our Country every citizen can find a way to serve – and I’m confident I’ll find ways to work for our common good.