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Youth dominates race for CK commissioner: Brown and Burlingame poised to advance to November election
In a county not known as a destination for young people, it may seem odd that the two candidates vying to represent Central Kitsap on the county Board of Commissioners are in the prime of their youth.
Be that as it may, Democratic County Commissioner Josh Brown, 29, and Republican challenger Abby Burlingame, 31, may not have experience on their side, but the votes.
And in Brown's case, he at least has seniority - he is the longest serving commissioner on the board, with one term under his belt.
The two candidates will likely advance to the November general election, according to primary results released Wednesday evening.
With 13,273 votes tallied and 17,000 more countywide ballots to be counted, Brown leads the pack of four contenders with 46.48 percent of the counted ballots, or 6,169 votes.
Burlingame is in second place, with 32.83 percent of counted ballots, or 4,358 votes.
Republican David Corley — with 12.85 percent of ballots, or 1,706 votes — and Democrat Wally Carlson — with 7.69 percent of ballots, or 1,021 votes — are holding in third and fourth place, according to results from the Kitsap County Auditor's Office.
The top two candidates think their relative youth is a plus, but they see it helping them in different ways.
For Burlingame, she sees herself as benefiting from the experiences of those around her. But, she said, a person has to be willing to learn.
"There are a lot of great things I have learned from older people," she said. "Humility is a huge thing."
For Brown, he sees his youth as helping him understand the issues.
"There are a lot of young families who need the county to step up and ensure quality of life here is strong," he said.
Later results from the Auditor's Office were not available as of press time.
Although Brown has taken a commanding lead, Burlingame said the strong showing of Corley demonstrates Republicans turned out in force.
If Burlingame gets all of Corley's votes she virtually ties Brown. With just some of Carlson's votes she would eclipse the incumbent.
"I am extremely excited," Burlingame said. "I think it's going to be a good race."
Although the early handicapping may spell bad news for Brown, he said voters tend to have more personal interaction with candidates, which could explain why Corley and Carlson, who have done businesses and lived in Kitsap for some time, got their votes. In a general election, when the contest is narrowed between two candidates who are able to more easily define themselves and their opponents,
"Most people vote for the individual," Brown said. "That is the case particularly in local elections when you are closer to them, there is a higher probability you know the person."