Auditor Sonntag Has Nice Words for Three Candidates to Replace Him – but What About Pridemore?

Might be the Strongest Statement Long-Serving Public Official Will Make

State Auditor Brian Sonntag.

An item in the Northwest Daily Marker blog might pique your interest, if you’re one of those who knows how to read between the lines. State Auditor Brian Sonntag has nice things to say about three of the candidates who are running to replace him.

But the fourth? Hmm. Not a word.

And that might be about as strong a view as we’ll get from the state’s longest-serving constitutional officer. Sonntag is retiring this year after 20 years in office, and he says he has no plans to make an endorsement. In the interview with the right-leaning blog, Democrat Sonntag takes the bipartisan approach that has colored his political career, saying two Democratic candidates and one Republican might do an outstanding job in his place.

Auditor candidates, clockwise: Sen. Craig Pridemore, Rep. Mark Miloscia, Rep. Troy Kelley, and James Watkins.

About Democrat Mark Miloscia, he says: “I’ve known him and his heart is in the right place.”

Democrat Troy Kelley: “He has done a good job serving in the Legislature in a pretty swing district.”

Republican James Watkins: “He is particularly qualified based on his background and experience to advance the auditor’s office and be an independent advocate for taxpayers.”

But what about Democrat Craig Pridemore, the state senator from Vancouver who seems to be locking up labor endorsements and the progressive vote as he touts his stands on gay rights, abortion and other litmus-test issues? And who certainly can’t be counted among Sonntag’s biggest fans?

That’s the interesting part. Sonntag says nothing directly, but read this as you will: “I’ve heard some discussion of potential directions that just don’t seem to fit the role of the office, getting into social issues and such.”

It’s the Sonntag style. If he can’t say something nice about someone, he doesn’t say anything at all.