The Thurston County commission unanimously chose 2nd District lawmaker Gary Alexander to replace newly elected Secretary of State Kim Wyman as county auditor.
The decision was made during the commission’s Tuesday afternoon meeting.
Alexander was selected over Olympia real estate agent Carol Person, the Thurston County Republicans’ top choice. The commission chose from a field of Republicans because Wyman is a Republican.
The third candidate, Yelm Mayor Ron Harding, pulled out of the running Monday, citing the desire to focus on “several high impact issues still unresolved” in Yelm, according to a letter addressed to the commissioners.
“I feel that even though becoming the next auditor would be a great honor, leaving my responsibilities as mayor at such a critical time would not be honorable,” Harding said in the letter, citing the city’s various road projects, water rights and the city’s park master plan.
The commissioners chose Alexander for his experience working in the Auditor’s Office and time as a legislator.
“Our job is to find a person we feel has the best qualifications and can hit the ground running,” said Commissioner Cathy Wolfe.
Alexander will serve as auditor until the November election. Then, he will have to run to retain the seat.
Alexander began working in the Auditor’s Office during Sam Reed’s final six months of service 12½ years ago.
“I like the job and the people,” Alexander said. “The people I work with and the people I work for.”
He added that if he’s elected in November, he will consider resigning from the state Legislature.
Alexander is looking to a four- or five-year plan as auditor, hoping to continue to move the Auditor’s Office to paperless filing and streamline the county’s election process.