Republican Tom Nelson and Democrat Shawn Myers appear to be headed to the general election for Thurston County treasurer in November.
Nelson got the most votes in early returns Tuesday night, while the Democratic votes were split between Myers and Democratic party nominee Noah Crocker, who appeared to be eliminated along with “independent democrat” Bill Pilkey.
Nelson led with 40.83 percent, Myers was next with 31.88 percent, Crocker had 15.47 percent and Pilkey had 11.61 percent.
“This is pretty impressive considering that there’s a person that’s filling in that office right now,” Nelson said. “This is a challenge against a sitting official, if you will.”
Myers has served as treasurer since May, when the Thurston County Commission appointed her to replace Robin Hunt, who resigned for a private-sector job. County commissioners had announced their intent to appoint then-Olympia City Councilman Joe Hyer to the seat, but plans changed after Hyer was arrested on drug-related charges days later.
Myers said she was pleased with the results.
“I have my volunteers to thank,” she said.
Crocker learned the results from a reporter and said he needed to collect his thoughts. Pilkey blamed partisan politics for his loss.
“Party counts more than issues,” he said. “Most people don’t think before they vote. They vote a straight party ticket.”
The treasurer is responsible for receiving and disbursing more than $2 billion. Though the County Commission sets the county budget, the treasurer manages its finances and those of 40 school and fire districts. In addition to spending money, the person elected to the job is responsible for investments.
Whoever is elected will preside over a precarious county budget that has already been significantly cut and faces further trims due to the recession.
All four candidates emphasized their experience. Nelson touts his private-sector finance experience – 14 years in the banking industry. He is vice president and commercial loan officer for Thurston First Bank.
Myers stressed her current experience running the Treasurer’s Office, plus her experience in the office from 1986 to 2005. She was controller of Aberdeen-based Bank of the Pacific from 2005 to 2008, then cash-flow manager in the state Treasurer’s Office.
Crocker emphasized his five years as debt manager in the state Treasurer’s Office, issuing bonds for state and local governments. Pilkey, who identifies himself as an independent democrat, said he has decades of financial experience as a certified financial planner.