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Clauson stretches lead in race for council

Incumbent John Clauson had gained a few more votes over newcomer Cindy Lucarelli in the race for the Port Orchard City Council by the end of last week, with both all but assuming he will win without requiring any recounts.

As of Friday, the County Auditor’s Office showed Clauson 45 votes ahead of Lucarelli, who previously had said she’d consider a recount if the margin was close enough. Since then, however, Lucarelli has said she will run again and look to other ways to be involved with the city, such as the Design Review Board for the Downtown Overlay District.

“That’s such a good lead now that it seems that John’s got it,” Lucarelli said. “It would be quite a surprise if he didn't get it at this point.”

Clauson was cautiously optimistic about the lead, and is thinking about how to proceed on the bench.

“It’s awfully close,” he said Monday. “But certainly the direction is suggesting that I’m going to be re-elected, so I guess I’m thinking that way. But it’s never over until it’s certified.”

If that certification happens, Clauson would be the City Council’s only incumbent to be re-elected, other than Robert Putaansuu who was assigned to his position mid-term and ran unopposed.

Clauson could not say definitively why voters gave him another term on the bench while more clearly voting out council members Rita DiIenno and Rick Wyatt, but he said Port Orchard seems ready for action.

He noted that some of his work on the DOD, such as the Sunday afternoon exercise in which he hung large tarps at 39 and 55 feet along Bay Street and Prospect Alley, may have had an effect.

He added that Port Orchard’s downtown is just one of several issues facing voters.

“That’s just a piece, or an example of how we need to get moving. It’s an example of the willingness to move forward even when it’s a tough decision,” Clauson said. “Downtown happens to be the rather focal point through the campaign, but in reality there’s Bethel, there’s annexations, there’s a number of things in the city’s future we need to be proactive on.”

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