The Politics Blog

More labor endorsements in Thurston auditor’s race - going to Mary Hall

OlympianAugust 16, 2013 

Republican appointee Gary Alexander announced a rare labor union endorsement earlier this week  for his campaign to stay on the job as Thurston County auditor for another year. Now rival Democrat Mary Hall, a Pierce County elections supervisor, is answering with several labor endorsements of her own – and a jab.

Hall says the Washington State Labor Council rates Alexander’s voting record on labor issues as poor in his nine terms as a state legislator - saying he voted on labor's side 16 percent of the time.

In a news release Hall said:

After interviewing both candidates for this office, the county’s largest unions, the Washington Federation of State Employees Local 443 and the Teamsters Joint Council 28, are recommending that their members vote for Mary Hall in the Auditor’s race.

Also endorsing Hall are the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District Lodge 751, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 587, Lacey Professional Firefighters, and the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 5.

These unions represent workers in both the public and private sectors and have thousands of members living and working in Thurston County.

Hall said she also is backed by the Thurston Lewis Mason Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, which represents 29 AFL-CIO affiliates.

The union backing could help Hall get more people out in the fall when the push to win votes gets heavier.

But Alexander has the endorsement of the biggest union in Thurston County government - from the Washington State Council of County and City Employees - and it is one of many Alexander is listing. The endorsement came without interviewing Hall, her campaign manager Cathi Bright said.

Alex Hays, campaign manager for Alexander said the endorsement by the largest union representing Thurston County workers was significant. That is because it was the largest union in county government and is a group that knows Alexander from working with him. 

Alexander was longtime deputy auditor under former auditor Kim Wyman until he was appointed to fill her position in January. Wyman won election last fall to secretary of state.

The auditor’s contest – which is for the one year still left on Wyman’s term – is one of the closer ones in Thurston County this fall. Alexander led by 5 percentage points in the primary and is the only Republican holding a countywide partisan office. But he enjoys a lot more name familiarity.

Hall leads in the money race – collecting $33,776 and spending $20,919. And her list of endorsements is also bigger.  Alexander  has raised $28,741 and spent $12,885, according to data on file at the state Public Disclosure Commission.

 Win or lose, Alexander said recently that he’ll resign his position in the Legislature by the end of the year.

Hall’s news release quoted Larry Brown, political director for Machinists District Lodge 751 as saying:

“The Machinists believe that everyone deserves to have their voices heard at the ballot box. We know Mary Hall will do everything in her power to make voting more accessible to working people, students, and people of color. That is why the Machinists Union supports Mary Hall.”

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