Liias enters race to become Washington state treasurer

OLYMPIA — State Sen. Marko Liias of Lynnwood wants a statewide job and Congresswoman Suzan DelBene will have a Republican opponent this fall.

Those are two of the bigger developments Thursday as candidates continued signing up to run for state and federal offices. The deadline to file is 4 p.m. Friday.

As expected, Liias, a Democrat, entered the race for state treasurer. This is his first run for statewide office and he joins four others vying to succeed retiring Treasurer Jim McIntire.

Liias, who works for the city of Mukilteo, said his experience helping draft state transportation budgets in the House and Senate gives him a sturdy foundation to be Washington’s chief financial officer.

“I have a lot of experience with a lot of complex financial decisions the state has to make,” he said.

If elected, he said he wants to “reform our antiquated tax system to make it fairer, more progressive and more sustainable” and take a “leadership role” in crafting fiscal policies in support of middle class families.

Liias was appointed to a House seat in 2008 then moved to the Senate in 2014 when Sen. Paull Shin retired.

As of Thursday, Democrats Alec Fisken and John Paul Comerford, and Republicans Michael Waite and Duane Davidson had filed.

The two candidates receiving the most votes in the Aug. 2 primary will face-off in November.

Fisken, a former banker and Seattle port commissioner, has been endorsed by McIntire, the two-term incumbent. Comerford is a financial counselor and pension consultant with his own firm, J.P. Comerford &Co.

Waite, a senior vice president at the investment firm Bentall Kennedy, is endorsed by a slew of GOP state lawmakers and Rob McKenna, the state’s former attorney general.

Davidson is in his fourth term as Benton County treasurer.

Liias is the second Snohomish County lawmaker seeking a statewide office this year. Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, is one of nine candidates for lieutenant governor. Also in the race is a Republican from Lake Stevens, Bill Penor.

Meanwhile, Robert Sutherland of Granite Falls will take on the two-term incumbent DelBene of Medina in the 1st Congressional District.

He said he made the decision after state Rep. Elizabeth Scott ended her campaign for the seat citing health reasons. Sutherland said GOP leaders didn’t recruit him but they aren’t opposing his entry as they did when he ran against DelBene in 2014.

“So far I haven’t ticked off anybody in my party,” he said.

Sutherland finished third in the 2014 primary, 873 votes behind fellow Republican Pedro Celis. He then ran unsuccessfully for county executive in 2015.

In a campaign video, Sutherland said he would work to balance the federal budget and create a simplified tax plan. He also said he wanted to secure the borders to stop the “flood of illegal aliens” into the United States including drug dealers, criminals and terrorists.

DelBene, who is seeking her third full term, filed for re-election Monday.

Also Thursday, Democrats Morrel James Muller of Bothell and David Corvin of Snohomish, filed to run against Republican state Rep. Mark Harmsworth of Mill Creek.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@heraldnet.com

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