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Strakeljahn holds lead in Port of Bremerton race

In a race between two businessmen, Axel Strakeljahn leads Shawn Cucciardi for the Port of Bremerton commissioner position.

Strakeljahn, general manager of the South Kitsap Fred Meyer store, had 8,265 votes — 51.44 percent — while Cucciardi, a part-owner and operator of the McCormick Woods golf and restaurant facility, had 7,638 votes or 47.54 percent in the first returns posted Tuesday night.

"I've never run an election before, so I don't know," Strakeljahn said by phone Tuesday night. "But I feel pretty good about it.

"I've worked very hard, and it's nice to see your hard work pay off."

Both candidates campaigned on a theme of utilizing the port's marine, airport and industrial park facilities to create economic development that would bring jobs to the region.

Strakeljahn said he though his emphasis on fiscal responsibility resonated with voters.

"I think people are ready for elected officials that respect the taxpayer," he said. "They expect a return from their invested tax dollars."

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