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Brown keeps lead over Burlingame in Kitsap commissioner race - Prosecutor Hauge holding off challenger Danielson

Bonnie Mathews, from Chico, shows election volunteers the signatures on her and her husband
Bonnie Mathews, from Chico, shows election volunteers the signatures on her and her husband's ballots Tuesday in Silverdale.
— image credit: Kristin Okinaka/staff photo

Democratic County Commissioner Josh Brown led Republican Abby Burlingame by 6 percent of the vote, according to updated results released Wednesday night.

With 65,243 votes counted, Brown led 52.95 percent to 46.86 percent, or 34,549 ballots to 30,571 ballots, increasing his lead by 1 percent from early results Tuesday night.

After reviewing results, Brown said Tuesday that he was honored to lead in the polls, and confident he would ultimately win.

Brown said he believed a record of accomplishment and fiscal responsibility resonated with voters.

"This election proves that people are more interested in elected officials who are focused on getting things done for the community rather than running against people with a negative campaign," Brown told the Central Kitsap Reporter.

Burlingame said she would have to wait until more ballots were counted in order to call the election since only 3,000 ballots were processed between Tuesday and Wednesday. As of Wednesday night, she had not conceded.

"I'm actually pretty happy with how we ran our campaign," Burlingame said Wednesday morning. "I don't think people expected me to pull the numbers I did."

In another contested race, Prosecuting Attorney Russ Hauge, a Democrat, was holding off Republican challenger Bruce Danielson by about 4.85 percent of the vote.

Continuity on the commission

Brown, elected in 2006, is the longest serving commissioner on the all-Democrat commission.

Commissioner Steve Bauer, who represents the North Kitsap commissioner district, said a Brown victory would ensure continuity on the commission.

However, he said if Brown ultimately wins it would be a mandate not necessarily of the commission as a whole, but for Brown.

"I certainly think that will be recognition of the work he's done and certainly support for him to continue," Bauer said.

The initial results showing a 5 percent margin conflict with a lopsided fundraising season, where Brown outpaced Burlingame's spending more than 2-1.

Brown spent more than twice as much as Burlingame

Brown spent about $71,430 through Oct. 25, while Burlingame spent about $33,000, according to Public Disclosure Commission reports.

Candidates have until Dec. 10 to show all fundraising through the end of November, said commission spokeswoman Lori Anderson.

Turnout for the election exceeded expectations.

The Kitsap County Auditor's Office issued 144,283 ballots for the mail-in election, and late estimates put turnout at up to 75 percent.

Last month state Secretary of State Sam Reed predicted a statewide turnout of 66 percent, a 40 year high for a midterm election.

Fiercely contested races and ballot measures, plus heavy television advertising and grass roots activism led to the prediction, Reed said in a statement.

But as of Wednesday afternoon, Kitsap was on track to exceed the state prediction with a turnout as high as 75 percent.

"Right now that is what we are on target for," said Elections Manager Dolores Gilmore said, predicting a turnout of "at least" 70 percent.

"We're great voters," Gilmore said.

As of Tuesday afternoon the office had about 20,000 ballots on hand. Those will need to be verified, sorted, reviewed and readied to be counted. The office will release new count figures at 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday.

As of the end of the workday Monday, the office had 671 challenged ballots, mostly because of irregularities in the signature or the signature was missing altogether, Gilmore said.

"People get in a hurry," she said. "We always have some where they forget to sign."

Also, voters sometimes tend to be more precise when signing their voter application than the ballot envelope, she said, which leads to questions about the signature.

Notices will be sent to voters with challenged ballots.

If the voter does not respond, the ballot will be sent the county's canvassing board, which will meet Nov. 22 and make final determination on challenged and unresolved ballots and certify the election Nov. 23.

Because the officials who are the members of the three-person panel are all up for election, alternates have been appointed.

County Commissioner Charlotte Garrido will take the place of Brown, Auditor's Office Chief Deputy Winnie Flores-Logan will take the place of Auditor Walt Washington and Shelley Kneip from the Prosecuting Attorney's Office will take the place of Hauge.

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