State Sen. Mark Miloscia, R-Federal Way, announced Thursday that he will run for state auditor in 2016, seeking to replace indicted state Auditor Troy Kelley.
Miloscia, who ran for auditor as a Democrat in 2012, said he is running for the position a second time — this time as a Republican — “to bring back respect and leadership to an office that has been plagued with scandal and embarrassment” during Kelley’s tenure.
Kelley, a Tacoma Democrat who beat Miloscia and two others in 2012, has been indicted on 17 felony counts in federal court, including money laundering and tax evasion. He has been on an unpaid leave of absence from the auditor’s office since May.
Miloscia is the first person to formally announce he will seek to replace Kelley, who before his indictment had already filed as a candidate for re-election with the state Public Disclosure Commission.
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“(Kelley) has lost the trust of everyone in our state, including Governor Inslee and the leaders of all four caucuses in the Legislature,” Miloscia said in an email announcing his candidacy. “...He simply must go.”
A few others may also be contemplating entering the race.
One of them, state Rep. Derek Stanford, D-Bothell, confirmed to The (Everett) Herald this week that he was considering a bid for auditor, but had yet to make a decision.
Earlier this year, Miloscia invited Kelley to attend a hearing of the Senate’s Accountability and Reform Committee, which Miloscia chairs, to answer questions about ethics standards at the Auditor’s Office and the agency’s efforts to reduce fraud.
Kelley did not attend, instead letting other senior staffers speak on the agency’s behalf.
Kelley’s attorney, who has been speaking to the media on Kelley’s behalf for the past several weeks, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.