Voters were divided, and the face-off for Thurston County auditor — one of the most hotly contested political races in South Sound — was too close to call Tuesday.
Pierce County elections supervisor Mary Hall, a Democrat, held a slim lead over State Rep. Gary Alexander, a Republican, according to an initial ballot count.
“I’m feeling pretty good,” said Hall, who attended a celebration at The Office, near the Thurston County elections shop. “I’ve learned there are amazing people in Thurston County that really believe in me, and I really appreciate their support.”
Meantime, Alexander said he’ll remain hopeful that later returns will turn the race in his favor. After releasing Thurston County’s initial election results, he was headed to a party at the Red Lion Hotel in Olympia.
Alexander, who has won nine terms in the Legislature and one term on the Port of Olympia commission, said the auditor’s race was unlike any election he’s ever been involved in.
“It gives me some concern when I’m thinking that nastiness and partisanship can win over qualifications and experience,” he said. “I put a lot of effort in this race. We stayed positive when the other side went virally negative.”
Republicans have held the auditor’s seat for at least 30 years, Alexander said.
Both sides did a fair share of rhetoric, and spent big amounts on their campaigns. As of Tuesday, Alexander spent $43,703.54 and Hall spent $63,606.18 according to reports filed with the Public Disclosure Commission.
The elected position has an annual salary of $105,276, according to Thurston County.
Alexander was appointed county auditor in January after former auditor Kim Wyman left to serve as secretary of state. Alexander was the county’s deputy auditor for finance for 12 years and was budget and program manager in state government for 25 years.