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Matthes optimistic a recount will confirm his narrow win in mayor's election
It’s official: Tim Matthes won the extremely close election for Port Orchard mayor.
The Kitsap County Auditor’s office certified the election results Tuesday, and the final tally shows Matthes with 2,442 votes and incumbent Mayor Lary Coppola with 2,437.
Since the difference in the vote totals are within one-fourth of 1 percent, a recount of the ballots by hand is required. That will be conducted Tuesday by the elections staff in the Kitsap County Auditor’s Office.
Matthes said in a phone interview Wednesday that he’s optimistic the outcome will be affirmed.
“The likelihood of a 5-vote mistake being made by the county is not that high,” he said.
Matthes declined to say what he thought made the difference in his successful bid to oust incumbent Mayor Lary Coppola.
“I’m just happy at the result, and I don’t want to look too close at the reasons because that would be speculative,” he said. “Whatever happened along the way was enough to gain five votes, and that’s the important thing.”
Coppola, reached by phone Tuesday morning after the results were certified, said at first he said he would reserve his comments “until the outcome is final.”
However, he added, “We ran a clean campaign all the way through, start to finish, and I have to believe that integrity wins, and if integrity was easy, everybody would do it.”
That seemed an obvious reference to the political committee People for a Better Port Orchard, which mailed out two fliers late in the campaign that attacked Coppola’s record. Some observers said the fliers distorted the facts.
Matthes, who has said he had no knowledge of the committee nor its activities, had nothing to say when asked if those fliers might have influenced the election.
“I’m not going to make any more comments on that,” he said. “I think that’s a dead horse that needs to be buried.”
While he acknowledged that winning by such a slim margin won’t send him into office with a mandate, Matthes said once the outcome is certified in a recount, “I won’t worry so much about that five votes.
“The first priority is to get people to realize that Port Orchard won’t move forward until we all work together.”
Looking ahead, Matthes said he plans to focus on the city’s budget.
“I won’t kid you; I have a lot of learning to do and I need to do it in a short period of time,” he said, adding that he looks forward to working with City Council members and competent department heads like city Treasurer Allen Martin to help him get up to speed.
Matthes also plans to follow through on one of his campaign themes and look for ways to get more citizen input in the decision-making processes of city government.
“I think we’ve had several things the last four years that came up, and actually blew up because we didn’t have enough public participation,” he said.