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GOP secret for holding Washington’s Secretary of State seat for 60 years? Middle ground

Republicans have held Washington’s Secretary of State office since the 1960s.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — How do Republicans keep doing it?

As Washington state voters continue to back Democrats in the White House and state Capitol races, Republicans ensured their hold on the Secretary of State office will last 60 years during the November election as Kim Wyman was reelected to a third term.

Wyman is the only Republican to hold a statewide office on the west coast.

A Republican has held the Washington Secretary of State office since Lud Kramer was elected in 1964.

“Each of us, Secretaries of State, really since 1964, have operated in the big middle of our political spectrum here in the state of Washington,” said Republican Sam Reed, who held the office from 2001 to 2013.

Reed started working in the office in 1969.

Bruce Chapman, the Republican appointed to the position in 1975 before being elected the next year, said voters are more concerned about having elections run smoothly than the party in control of the office.

"It became clear that the message of our office and my subsequent successors was, we’ll run fair elections, without fear or favor, and will be nonpartisan,” said Chapman.

Republican Ralph Munro held the position for five terms between 1981 and 2001.

“I'm amazed, you know, I haven't been in office for over 20 years and people still walk up to me in the street and tell me, 'You're the only Republican I ever voted for,'” said Munro.

With the election of Gov. Jay Inslee to a third term, Democrats look to extend their winning streak to 30 years. The first of five Democrats to hold the office, Booth Gardner, was sworn in January 1985.

When her third term is up, would Wyman consider trying to start a new Republican winning streak in the Governor’s office? Wyman said it’s too soon to talk about any future campaigns.

"You're asking a woman who just got out of the delivery room when she's going to have her next kid,” Wyman said with a laugh. “I'm still just kind of absorbing the fact that I won, and I'm the only Republican standing on the west coast.”