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Rolfes set to return to 23rd LD seat

Nancy Nystrom (left) from Bremerton shakes hands with Sherry Appleton and chats with Christine Rolfes (center) during the Democratic election party at the Silverdale Beach Hotel Tuesday night. - Photo by Jesse Beals
Nancy Nystrom (left) from Bremerton shakes hands with Sherry Appleton and chats with Christine Rolfes (center) during the Democratic election party at the Silverdale Beach Hotel Tuesday night.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

Bainbridge Democrat Christine Rolfes was poised to reclaim her spot as representative for the 23rd Legislative District, running well ahead of Bremerton Republican Mark Lowe in early results Tuesday night.

Rolfes said she was ecstatic with the results, which showed her winning 62.4 percent of the vote with 55 percent of votes counted. With 79,591 votes in countywide, Rolfes had 25,429 and Lowe 15,307 for 37.6 percent of the vote

"I'm very pleased," she said from a Democratic rally in Silverdale, "It started to be a good night with (Sen. Barack) Obama running across the country."

The former Bainbridge City Council member beat out a three-term Republican incumbent to take the seat in 2006. Rolfes said she was still somewhat nervous going into Tuesday night, but was more confident than in 2006.

"Now that I've gone through it, I know what to expect," she said. "Last time, I felt good about the campaign but had no idea how it would turn out. This time, I've been able to enjoy it more."

Lowe, a security consultant and retired U.S. Navy master chief petty officer, was seeking elected office for the first time.

Watching election results come in at a Republican event in Bremerton Tuesday evening, Lowe said he was more than disappointed.

"It's a sad day for America," he said. "It's not disappointing, it pisses me off. I don't see good things coming from this on a national or local level."

Lowe said he had learned from the campaign, and has already told the party he would be open to running again.

Lowe began his campaign in May with a focus on transportation efficiency, urban growth management, veterans affairs and property taxes, as well as a general lack of action in state government.

Rolfes easily outdistanced Lowe in fundraising, finishing with $136,016 to Lowe's $12,252, according to the state Public Disclosure Commission.

Rolfes will return to the Legislature with fellow Democratic incumbents Sen. Phil Rockefeller of Bainbridge and Rep. Sherry Appleton of Poulsbo, both of whom also outdistanced their Republican opponents.

During her first term, Rolfes focused much of her attention on ferry issues.

She sponsored legislation that froze ferry fares, and supported bills to reform Washington State Ferries and encourage passenger only ferry services. Rolfes was a lead organizer of the Puget Sound Leadership Ferry Summit, held in Bremerton earlier this year.

Rolfes is a co-chair of the House's Ecology and Parks Committee, and a member of its Community and Economic Development and Trade Committee, and Transportation Committee.

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