Former mayor Coppola joins race for county commissioner

Former Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola made an 11th hour decision to again seek elected office. This time, his office would be up the street from his old mayoral chambers.Coppola, Port Orchard’s Mayor from 2008-12, filed late in the afternoon just before last Friday’s deadline with the Kitsap County Auditor to run for the County Commissioner District 2 seat.Coppola, a Democrat, is one of four people running for the county commissioner seat, which is occupied by Democrat Charlotte Garrido. He will run against Garrido, Republican Linda Simpson and Kristine Danielson, who “prefers the Conservative NP party.”Coppola enter the commissioner’s race fresh off the heels of a failed re-election bid for Port Orchard mayor in November, where he lost to Tim Matthes by five votes.Speaking to the POI Monday, Coppola said the tough mayoral campaign weighed heavy on his mind when deciding to run for county commissioner.“Considering how the mayor’s campaign went, I didn’t want to put a lot of people through it [campaigning],” Coppola said. “Losing was really hard on the family.”Coppola said he had no plans to run for the seat until late last week after he received more than 150 phone calls and numerous Facebook messages encouraging him to run.He also received two calls from elected officials, one a former and the other current, encouraging him to run, he said. He also had a long talk with his wife, Port Orchard Planning Commission member Dee Coppola, who also told him to go for it.“He did such a killer job in Port Orchard,” Dee said. “He has a talent. The county could use someone with his fiscal experience.”Coppola ultimately decided to file about an hour before the deadline Friday night, he said. If elected, Coppola said he would bring his fiscal management experience gained from running Port Orchard and the local media company he has owned since 1979 to the county commissioners office.He said he is concerned with the county’s budget, and that the county needs rethink the way its money is spent.“This economy we are in is the new normal,” he said. “The county needs to understand that. If not, we are caught in a revenue shortage situation. Is building trails as important as the sheriff’s department and protecting our people?”Garrido welcomes the challenge of running against Coppola, Simpson and Danielson in November’s election. Garrido, who has held the county commissioner seat twice, said the more candidates running, the better options voters have.“It gives voters a chance to take a look at what’s meaningful and state what they think,” Garrido said.Simpson and Danielson could not be reached for comment.No campaign events are scheduled yet, Coppola said. He hopes a campaign website will also soon be up and running.“Jumping into this at the very last minute, I’m still putting all my materials together,” he said.


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