Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy will seek statewide office this year with a bid for state auditor.
For the past eight years, she has run daily operations of county government. Two terms is the maximum she’s allowed to serve because of term limits. Before that, she was the county auditor.
An open seat for state auditor is likely. First-term Auditor Troy Kelley, a Tacoma Democrat, hasn’t closed the door to running for re-election, but a federal criminal indictment has derailed his political career.
“First and foremost” among McCarthy’s motivations for running, she said Tuesday, is to “bring some integrity back to the Auditor’s Office.”
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McCarthy doesn’t have a background in auditing. Despite the title, her former position as county auditor oversees elections and licensing and doesn’t do audits.
But she said she has experience interacting with the Auditor’s Office in both county offices and that she knows how to run an agency.
Pierce County has about 3,000 employees and about a $900 million budget including capital projects. The Auditor’s Office is far smaller with a staff of about 350.
“I’m familiar with how to do budgets, I’m familiar with how to manage people and I think we’ve done some good things in Pierce County that I’m very proud of,” McCarthy said.
Previously announcing a run are Democrat Jeff Sprung, a Seattle lawyer and first-time candidate, and Republican Mark Miloscia, a state senator from Federal Way.
Kelley has said he can’t imagine running again. He faces trial next month on charges related to his former business, including tax evasion and money laundering.