Coppola off to a flying start

Port Orchard mayoral hopeful Lary Coppola got a major head start towards his goal Tuesday, racking up 57.2 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s primary election.

In the ballots counted as of Thursday, runner-up Tom Saunders lagged behind with 28.5 percent of the vote.

Kathleen Dolan-Bowes, who only managed only 12.6 percent, was eliminated.

“It was very interesting run, I enjoyed it tremendously,” Dolan-Bowes said from out of town Wednesday. “I respect the decision of the voters, and I wish Lary and Tom the best in the upcoming general election.”

Coppola did not acknowledge his lopsided victory as portending an automatic November win, explaining there were more doors to knock on and more residents to meet.

“It’s a long time between now and November,” Coppola said.

Saunders hopes to secure some of Dolan-Bowes’ supporters, and said if he gets his face known, he could change the minds of those who voted for Coppola.

“By getting out there and letting the public know who I am face-to-face, I think I have a very good chance of getting a lot more votes by the general,” Saunders said. “People that didn’t know me may have voted for Lary. That’s why I want to get out there and let them know who I am.”

Coppola’s strong win could be due in part to comparably large contributions to his campaign.

As of Aug. 13, Coppola had reported $30,286 in cash and in-kind contributions over the entire campaign, according to the Public Disclosure Commission. By comparison, Saunders and Dolan-Bowes did not raise more than the $5,000 cut-off line required for reporting.

Meanwhile, City Council front-runner Jerry Childs heard news of his lead from Canada, where he is vacationing.

The downtown Port Orchard resident and active participant in the Downtown Overlay District conversations pulled down 50.6 percent of the vote for the seat being vacated by Councilman Bob Geiger.

Dick Fitzwater followed with 30 percent support, while Dennis Xavier Goss received 18.2 percent support, and will not proceed to the general election.

Fitzwater hopes some of Goss’ supporters embrace him.

“I certainly hope to pick up Goss’ votes and more,” Fitzwater said Wednesday. He’ll continue doorbelling and meeting with Port Orchard residents.

“I realize I’m going to have to work hard at it,” Fitzwater said.

He worried his previous connection with the Karcher Creek Sewer District, for which he served as general manager, might mar his reputation, but noted he was retired before the district’s commissioners embarked on their controversial European trip.

Childs said the general election is a whole new race, and didn’t assume his majority win would hold through until November without some work.

“I wish Fitzwater well,” Childs said. “But I feel that I’m the candidate that can move the city in the right direction.”

In South Kitsap’s only other contested campaign, the Port of Manchester race resulted in one clear leader, with the three remaining candidates closely bunched.

Steve Pedersen took 31.3 percent of the vote, followed by Mark Rebelowski.

“Darn, I’m excited,” Pedersen said Thursday. “I just think there’s a number of real positive things we can do down there as a community.”

Pedersen already serves on the Manchester Water District. Current second-place holder Rebelowski questioned Pedersen’s potential involvement in both organizations, citing a previous interest in building a water facility near port property.

“I think some people might perceive a conflict,” Pedersen said. “I don’t. I’m able to put a number of things in my head and get it sorted out.

“One of my concepts is to re-evaluate the ports recreation and park plan,” he said. “I think we need to find out what amenities they want. If that includes the Manchester Water District, I’m willing to look at that. I have no preconceived idea, because I think a lot of that depends on what folks want for Manchester.”

Rebelowski’s share of the votes initially sat close to Phil Paquette and Dave Kimble, but he lengthened his lead on Wednesday and as of Thursday stands at 25.1.

“There’s plenty of votes still in the mail,” Rebelowski said, refusing to assume a win with such tight margins.

Kimble was content with his position Wednesday, pulling up the rear with 20.4 percent support.

“I’m a dead duck,” he said. He wouldn’t officially concede, but he estimated he was out of the running. “It’s not going to change.”

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