Steve Hobbs, who was sworn in as Washington Secretary of State, Nov. 22, 2021, at the Capitol in Olympia, poses in front of photos of the 15 people who previously held his office. (AP Photo / Ted S. Warren)

Steve Hobbs, who was sworn in as Washington Secretary of State, Nov. 22, 2021, at the Capitol in Olympia, poses in front of photos of the 15 people who previously held his office. (AP Photo / Ted S. Warren)

Hobbs leads the pack in crowded secretary of state race

Former state Sen. Steve Hobbs, of Lake Stevens, faced seven challengers for the job he was appointed to last year.

OLYMPIA — Secretary of State Steve Hobbs appears to be on his way to the general election, as he led seven challengers in Tuesday’s primary.

He’ll have to wait to find out who his opponent will be in November.

Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson, who is running as a nonpartisan candidate, and Republicans Bob Hagglund of Granite Falls and state Sen. Keith Wagoner of Sedro-Woolley were still in contention for the second spot when the first batch of ballot results was announced.

Hobbs, a Democrat from Lake Stevens, garnered 40.8% of the vote to lead seven challengers in Tuesday’s primary. Anderson picked up 13% in the first night of ballot counting.

Hagglund and Wagoner collected 12.4% and 11.9% respectively.

Tamborine Borrelli, the Republican leader of an election integrity group and purveyor of false election fraud claims, trailed in seventh place with 3.9%.

Hobbs is the first Democrat in the job in more than half-century. He was appointed to the post last November by Gov. Jay Inslee after Kim Wyman, a Republican, left to work in the Biden administration. She was the fifth consecutive Republican to hold the office in Washington dating back to 1965.

On the campaign trail, Hobbs says his training as a Washington National Guard lieutenant colonel and experience in office these past months make him the best positioned to address issues ranging from cybersecurity concerns to election misinformation.

Anderson was elected to the nonpartisan county auditor post in 2009. She’s the lone election professional in the race. She has pointed to her experience overseeing hundreds of elections and guiding the Pierce County election team through three presidential contests.

Hagglund has served as a Precinct Commission Officer in Granite Falls since 2017. He listed his experience as leading “Election Integrity efforts in Snohomish County” since 2021.

Wagoner, who is endorsed by former Secretary of State Sam Reed, said Inslee’s decision to appoint a Democrat rather than a Republican to succeed Wyman was the impetus for him to get into race. He also called for doing more to strengthen confidence in the election process.

Whoever wins this year’s election will serve the remaining two years of Wyman’s term. They will be Washington’s chief elections officer and oversee several other entities including the state archives and the state library. The job pays $136,996 a year.

Reporter Jerry Cornfield contributed to this report.

Jacqueline Allison: 425-339-3434; jacqueline.allison@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @jacq_allison.

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