Which candidate is Sonntag endorsing in auditor's race? Neither.

Which candidate is Sonntag endorsing in auditor's race? Neither. »Play Video
Troy Kelley (left) and James Watkins (right)
OLYMPIA, Wash. -- The normally low-key state auditor's race is heating up, with both candidates claiming they have the support of outgoing state auditor Brian Sonntag.

But Sonntag says he's not endorsing either candidate.

It's James Watkins facing off against Troy Kelly, and both are invoking Sonntag's name in their campaigns.

In the voter's pamphlet Kelley writes, "retiring State Auditor Brian Sonntag says 'Troy gets it! He's the independent voice we need..." But Watkins is crying foul, saying that endorsement was for Kelley's state legislative race two years ago.

"He's using an endorsement from 2010 for an entirely different race and the use of the language makes it appear that it's a current endorsement for the auditor race, which it is not," Watkins said.

We asked Sonntag if the statement he made about Kelly two years ago still stands today.

"Yeah, I think it still stands," Sonntag said.

Kelley's campaign manager Matt Miller says, "James is going to throw as much mud as he can and try to make it stick."

And Kelley's campaign says Watkins' voters guide statement is misleading.

Watkins is quoted on the video voter's guide: "That's why retiring state auditor Brian Sonntag says I'm 'particularly well qualified based on my experience and background."

That was part of an interview from earlier this year.

I asked Watkins if he's claiming the endorsement of Sonntag.

"Absolutely not, I never have," Watkins said.

Sonntag reiterated he hasn't endorsed either candidate and likes both.

"Neither one is an inaccurate quote," Sonntag said. "I stand by what I said and they're standing 'on' what I said, evidently," Sonntag said. Sonntag said he decided not to make an endorsement , because he wants a smooth transition in what he considers an "independent" state office.

The bottom line is the state auditor says no matter what you read in the voter's pamphlet, there is no endorsement.