Pridemore faces challenge in top-two primary for state auditor

Democrat Craig Pridemore, who has served as a state senator for Clark County’s 49th District since 2005, has two Democrats and one Republican to contend with in the Aug. 7 primary in the race to become Washington’s next state auditor.

The Republican in the race, management consultant James Watkins, has a good shot at advancing to the November general election because he’s the only Republican to choose from. But Democratic voters will have three options in August, and only two of the four state auditor candidates can advance to the November ballot.

During a meeting on Monday with The Columbian’s editorial board, all four candidates were asked which person they would vote for if they couldn’t vote for themselves.

Pridemore declined to choose between his opponents. But the other two Democratic state auditor candidates, state Reps. Troy Kelly and Mark Miloscia, appeared to gang up on Pridemore when they said they’d vote for each other.

Watkins, the Republican, also didn’t specify who he would vote for. He said he wasn’t sure all of his competitors were qualified for the job.

He also seemed confident that voters would choose him in the top-two primary, in which the top two candidates, regardless of political party, will advance to the general election.

“I’m liking my chances,” Watkins said.

Could Pridemore be right there with him on the November ballot?

“Craig seems to have picked up the endorsements from his party,” Watkins said.

Endorsements are expected to play a big role in this election. Pridemore is endorsed by King County Executive Dow Constantine, U.S. Congressman Adam Smith, the Democratic party in King and Pierce counties, and the Washington Education Association, to name a few.

Stevie Mathieu: 360-735-4523 or or or

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