The Thurston County auditor race pits a three-term Republican who has worked in the office since 1991 against a man who says it's time for a change.
Auditor Kim Wyman says she has made progressive decisions and continues to look for innovative ways to keep her office reliable and transparent.
Challenger Ric Abbett, a Democrat who works as a self-employed consultant, knows he has an uphill battle but says the office isn’t doing enough to engage the community.
Wyman took 70 percent of the vote in the primary election, an overwhelming majority she attributes to her track record. This is the first election in which Wyman has been challenged. Abbett contends that Wyman’s name recognition played a heavy role in the lopsided results.
Wyman says that if she is re-elected, her main focus will be better serving overseas and military voters. Like her opponent, Wyman believes the primary election should be moved earlier to better accommodate overseas ballots. Both say they will work with the state government to move forward on that idea.
Wyman would also like to explore electronic voting for overseas voters.
“We need to get into the 21st century,” she said.
Abbett claims Wyman lacks vision regarding the possibility of leadership roles within the community.
“She comes from inside the office,” he said. “It’s a bureaucratic tone.
“I’m an outsider with a bigger picture view. We’ve got very competent staff, and I think we need a new leader.”
Wyman rebuts the claim that she’s out of touch, noting her track record speaks for itself, including making available voting material in multiple formats for those who have disabilities. The auditor’s office also is working on digitizing all of its historic records, she said.
Abbett said that if he were elected, he would annually audit each county department, hold quarterly public meetings and revamp the voters pamphlet. He has also promised to cut his own pay by 10 percent if elected – a gesture his opponent says can’t be done.
In previous interviews, Wyman told The Olympian that her personnel department said she couldn’t reduce her own pay.
Both also agree the office needs to do a better job reaching out to minority populations.
Much like the primary election results, campaign contributions also lean heavily in Wyman’s favor. She has raised $27,600, five times more than Abbett, according to the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission.
Nate Hulings: 360-754-5476 firstname.lastname@example.org