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Klippert a spoiler in Secretary of State race?

Did his entry in primary also save U.S. Rep. Newhouse?

 

Last updated 11/20/2022 at 6:48pm



OLYMPIA — Democratic Secretary of State Steve Hobbs may owe his re-election Nov. 8 to Rep. Brad Klippert.

Hobbs defeated independent Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson to retain the office, the first time a Democrat has been elected as state’s chief elections officer in six decades.

Gov. Jay Inslee appointed Hobbs last year to replace Republican Kim Wyman after she resigned in November 2021 to take an election-security position in President Joe Biden’s administration.

Hobbs received 1,346,093 votes (49.84%) to Anderson’s 1,243,627 votes (46.05%), according to preliminary election returns last Tuesday.

There were 111,114 (4.11%) write-in votes — more than the 102,466-vote (3.79%) difference between Hobbs and Anderson.

State Rep. Brad Klippert, R-Kennewick, ran a write-in campaign for the office after Republicans were shut out of the state’s Top 2 primary in August.

That raises the question: Did Klippert, who had the endorsement of the state Republican Party, pull in enough votes in a tight race to swing the election?

Even before the Nov. 8 general election, there were indications it was a possibility.

An October poll by the Northwest Progressive Institute showed a close race between Hobbs and Anderson until respondents were asked to factor in Klippert, at which point Hobbs became the winner in a three-way contest.

Klippert responded to the question.

“The voters of our wonderful state always deserve the opportunity to vote for a conservative Republican candidate, and it was my duty and obligation to answer the call to be that candidate,” Klippert said. “I'm proud to have offered the voters a choice to vote for someone who believes in better election processes and more transparent elections in Washington, and to have the opportunity to discuss some of the major problems embedded in our state's election laws."

Primary spoiler, too?

This may not be the only time Klippert's entry into a contested has changed the outcome of an election.

In the Aug. 2 primary, Klippert was one of several candidates vying to unseat U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse, who was disavowed and censured by the Republican Party following his vote to impeach President Donald Trump.

While Newhouse is not supported by the Republican Party, he remained on the ballot as a Republican. The candidate most broadly endorsed by Republicans was Loren Culp, a retired police chief from Republic.

Newhouse received 38,331 Republican votes in the primary election; Culp received32,497.

Klippert finished a distant fifth in the race with 15,430 mostly Republican votes from supporters who were not inclined to support Newhouse.

Klippert's vote tally exceed the difference Culp needed to unseat Newhouse in the primary election.

As a result, Newhouse was the only one of the "impeachment 10" Republicans to be re-elected in a contested race following their decision to try to remove President Trump from office.

 

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