Kitsap posts 15,000 more election results, first county to report
September 22, 2008 · Updated 11:17 AM
Results from about 15,000 ballots were added to the vote total Wednesday afternoon, contributing to the eventual expectation of a 50 percent voter turnout in Kitsap County for the state’s first top-two primary.
“From an auditor’s perspective, things went very, very well,” Kitsap County Auditor Walt Washington said. “From a turnout perspective, we were a little disappointed. Although in Kitsap County, as usual, the turnout percentage was greater than the rest of the state.”
Two races, for South Kitsap Commissioner and Superior Court Judge, were considered upsets. Republican Tim Matthes drew the most votes in the South Kitsap Commissioner’s race, followed by Democrat Charlotte Garrido — who preceded current two-term SK Commissioner Jan Angel in that office.
Monty Mahan, who was the first to declare for the seat and earned the endorsement of local mayors, came in third.
Matthes led the total with 5,465 votes (42.11 percent), while Garrido managed 4,434 (33.08 percent). Mahan tallied 2,682 votes (20.01 percent), while Independent candidate Paul Nuchims, who withdrew from the race this weekend, received 24 votes (4.65 percent).
For the Kitsap County Superior Court judgeship, Jeanette Dalton had the lead with Bruce Danielson finishing second. Greg Wall, who was endorsed by Central Kitsap Commissioner Josh Brown, Kitsap County Prosecutor Russ Hauge and several other high-profile lawyers, finished third.
Dalton, who was the most recent entry in the judge’s race, received 16,548 (43.18 percent), followed by 12,578 (43.18 percent) for Danielson and 9,099 (23.74 percent) for Wall.
Prior to the latest count, Wall was not ready to concede, feeling that margins would narrow once all the votes were counted. If they do not, he said, he plans to throw his support to Dalton.
Tuesday’s primary also included two South Kitsap legislative races where there were only two candidates — meaning the results had no effect on the fall contest.
In Kitsap, South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel edged Former Port Orchard Mayor Kim Abel, 5,973 (52.21 percent) to 5,416 (47.34 percent).
Also in the 26th District, incumbent Rep. Larry Seaquist drew 6,506 (58.01 percent) votes over Marlyn Jensen, who received 4,673 votes (41.67 percent).
The 26th District covers both Kitsap and Pierce counties, where Republicans Angel and Jensen made better showings (although the leader did not change).
In Pierce, Angel received 4,433 votes (53.21 percent) to 3,872 (46.48 percent) for Abel. Seaquist prevailed with 4,379 votes (52.28 percent) to Jensen’s 3,971 (47.41 percent). Initial results were posted at 8:01 Tuesday night, prompting recognition from the Secretary of State as the first auditor’s office to submit election totals.
In other local state races, 35th District Rep. Kathy Haigh (D-Belfair) outdistanced challengers Bremerton City Councilman Brad Gehring and Mason County resident Marco Brown by a decisive margin.
As of Thursday afternoon, Haigh had 13,116 votes or 57 percent, while Gehring and Brown were separated by less than 130 votes for the right to challenge Haigh in November.
“I’m pretty pleased. I was hoping to have about 58 to 60 percent,” said Haigh, who is seeking her fifth term in office.
In the other 35th District state representative race, Thurston County businessman Fred Finn led Belfair businessman Randy Neatherlin by more than 1,400 votes in the race to replace former state Rep. William “Ike” Eickmeyer, who did not seek another term.
“We’re very pleased with the results,” Finn said, adding that there’s still a lot of work to do in the 35th District.
On the to-do list are dealing with transportation issues, especially the state’s ferries system, ensuring the Hood Canal isn’t forgotten in the efforts to clean up the Puget Sound and fully funding basic education, Finn said.
Although Neatherlin trailed Finn in the primary, he said he was pleased with the results, especially because he spent far less on his campaign than his opponent and entered the race at the last minute.
“It can be done without being bought,” Neatherlin said. “I think it shows how government should work.”
With former Mason County Commissioner Herb Baze out of the race for November, Neatherlin said he believes those votes will go to him and even if Finn carries Thurston County, Neatherlin said he expects to win.
“We were first because our staff is really great. We were able to have everything ready to go and everything went very smooth and we were able to post the first results,” Kitsap County Elections Supervisor Dolores Gilmore said.
“This was a coup for us,” Washington said. “Just on a personal pride level. My staff, are just the best. This is a good thing because we are ahead of the game. We plan ahead, make sure our poll sites are all working correctly. We stay in communication and get the results in as soon as we can.”
Gilmore said the process ran without a glitch. One change from previous years is that a greater percentage of voters personally delivered their ballots to the office in Port Orchard.
Gilmore said the office will count ballots on a daily basis up to Sept. 3, when the election will be certified.
Washington, who was appointed as auditor in March and is running for his first elected term, said there are several outreach programs in development to get voters registered for the Nov. 4 General Election.
One program is a result of a partnership with the League of Women Voters to run a voter registration booth at this week’s Kitsap County Fair & Stampede.
For complete results, go to www.kitsapgov.com and select “Elections.”
Staff writer Charles Melton contributed to this report.