A campaign promise and the outcome of a tight race for Thurston County auditor in the general election mean Gary Alexander’s tenure as a state legislator for the south Pierce County area will end after one year.
Mary Hall beat Alexander by 777 votes. Results of voting that closed Nov. 5 became official last Wednesday, three days after Alexander announced he will resign from the Legislature Dec. 31.
Alexander, a Republican, has been a state representative since 1996. Last year, redistricting put him in the Second District, which includes the Eatonville and Graham areas and other parts of Pierce County, as well as part of Thurston County. He was elected in November 2012 to a House of Representatives seat that was open because of new district boundaries.
Alexander, who’d been the appointed deputy auditor for 12 years, was chosen by the Thurston County Commissioners to be interim auditor of Thurston County after its previous auditor, Kim Wyman, was elected Washington’s secretary of state in 2012. He filed as a candidate for auditor in this year’s election, and promised during the campaign to resign from the Legislature whether he won or lost.
Hall, a Democrat, handed him a defeat in her first run for elected office. She serves as elections supervisor for Pierce County but lives in Thurston County, as does Alexander. Hall received 34,192 votes (50.5 percent of the total) to Alexander’s 33,415.
Hall has 16 years of election administrative experience with the Pierce County auditor’s office, which oversees the county’s elections.
In previous political experience, she was a Pierce County field manager for Democrat Mike Lowry’s winning campaign for governor in 1992. In her campaign for Thurston County auditor, she was endorsed by Brian Sonntag, a former state auditor and former Pierce County auditor.
Leaders of the Republican Party in the Second District will choose candidates for an appointment to replace Alexander in the House before the start of the 2014 session of the Legislature in January. The appointment will be made by the Thurston commissioners and the Pierce County Council, since the Second District overlaps the counties.
Alexander, an acknowledged expert on state budget issues, is the ranking Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, which has a key role in writing budgets. He’ll be replaced in that Republican leadership position by Rep. Bruce Chandler of Granger.