26th District votes tallied

Washington state’s primary election Tuesday put a Port Orchard woman on the November ballot and left two representative hopefuls in a dead heat.

As of Thursday evening, Republicans Ed Mitchell of Port Orchard and Kevin Entze of Gig Harbor were neck and neck in their bid for the 26th District Position 1 legislative seat currently held by Rep. Pat Lantz, D-Gig Harbor.

Mitchell, of Port Orchard, had a lead of just two votes.

“I feel confident that when the absentee votes come in my lead will be increased,” Mitchell said.

Entze was anxiously awaiting the latest numbers from Kitsap and Pierce Counties to be announced, hoping he might take the lead.

“I’m living on Maalox,” Entze said. “Two votes is about as neck and neck as you can get. It’s going to be a horse race to the end.”

Both Entze and Mitchell are conservative candidates with a strong focus on education. Entze said the key difference between them is his strong background in community service while Mitchell has a stronger background in business.

Incumbent Lantz pulled in 51.5 percent of the vote with 9,267, and self-proclaimed progressive candidate Ted Haley took the remaining 837 votes, or 4.6 percent.

Two other candidates in a close race were Lois McMahan, R-Gig Harbor, and Rep. Brock Jackley, D-Manchester. Though both would face each other again in November regardless of the primary results, Tuesday’s vote was a good litmus test of McMahan’s ability to take away Jackley’s 26th District Position 2 seat.

“We’re happy with the 48.5 percent that we have,” McMahan said. “I think that puts us in striking distance.”

McMahan said the recent mailer Jackley sent to voters that led to her filing a complaint with the Public Dislosure Commission earlier this month may not have hurt him too badly for the primary vote, but she believed it will the next time.

From now until November, McMahan said, she will continue to run a “clean campaign.”

Though she was also in a tight race, there’s no doubt that Pam Loginsky cleared the first hurdle on her way to the State Supreme Court. The three-way race between Loginsky, Doug Schafer and incumbent Charles W. Johnson ended with Loginsky and Johnson each earning nearly 38 percent of the vote, and Schafer earning the remaining 23.4 percent. The close finish kept Johnson from earning 50 percent of the votes and gave Loginsky a spot on the November ballot.

“I am pleased with how close the numbers really are,” Loginsky said. She said she is confident of her chances for victory in November.

The last race in the 26th District saw two democratic challengers battling for a chance to face Sen. Bob Oke, R-Port Orchard, in the general election Nov. 5.

Betty Ringlee earned 5,209 votes for 28.6 percent, while Randy Boss earned 4,362 for 24 percent.

“I’m happy, it feels great,” Ringlee said. “Just so we beat Oke, that’s what we’re all looking for.”

Ringlee said she was glad to be ahead of Boss, but also that her and Boss’s combined totals were enough to beat Oke should Boss’s votes go to her in November. Ringlee said the results really spoke to voters’ disapproval with Oke’s focus on the bridge.

“This shows there’s more to the race than the bridge,” Ringlee said.

Absentee ballots are still being counting and the deadline for counties to certify their election results is Sept. 27. As of Thursday, 100 percent of Kitsap County’s 199 precincts had reported, but 15,000 ballots remained uncounted.

With the exception of the tight race between Entze and Mitchell, the secretary of state’s elections division said the current results should stand.

In Kitsap County, less than 30 percent of registered voters cast ballots, while in Pierce County 24 percent turned out.

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